THE powers that be, whether local, state, federal government or departments under their jurisdiction, carry a responsibility to spend public monies wisely and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all in the community.
When it comes to decisions regarding art work in the public domain, specifically the Wimmera Street roundabout art project, there are several points I feel should have been considered.
What is the purpose of the work and why the roundabout?
At a time when a significant campaign is being run to deter motorists from using their mobile phone while driving, is the artwork going to add a further distraction?
Clear signage could be a great help to confused visitors.
Granted Bayliss and Church streets are well signed, but how many times have I been asked: “Where is Main Street?”
Surely artwork needs to be contemplated and pondered to be enjoyed.
How can this be done while negotiating traffic – either as a pedestrian, cyclist, gopher or regular car driver?
Thankfully the work has been awarded to design students with no local signature – so we may look forward to the magnificent works of our local artists in more appropriate surrounds, hopefully well rewarded financially for their contribution.
Rosalind Byass, Stawell
WHILE applauding the concept of a new year’s resolution, the reality is that by the second, third or fourth week of January, many people will struggle to keep the commitments they have made to themselves to improve their own health and wellbeing and, by extension, that of their loved ones.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case for those in our community wanting to change their relationship with gambling.
The 100 Day Challenge has been designed with the assistance of experts in therapeutic services to provide practical, effective support to people seeking to take a break from gambling, reduce the amount of time or money they spend, or quit permanently.
The program offers participants 100 recreational activities as alternatives to gambling, over 100 days, and encourages them to set and track progress against their own goals. It includes a range of tools, tips and advice, and features a highly engaged online community where participants share their experiences.
If you’d like to join the more than 4000 Victorians who have already signed up for the 100 Day Challenge, visit 100dc.com.au
Janet Dore, interim chief executive, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
Duck shooting decision
ANY day now the state government will announce what will or won’t be, in terms of another native waterbird shooting season in 2019, at thousands of public waterways around Victoria often in close proximity to residents.
For the sake of our struggling native waterbirds and the communities they (used to) frequent, let’s hope our “new” government is indeed progressive, true to its word on protecting our unique wildlife and governing for all Victorians.
Latest scientific data, which the new chief executive of Game Management Authority refers to as “the most significant”, shows our native water birds have fallen even further from last year’s desperately low numbers, remaining well below average with “game bird” numbers low by order of magnitude.
This year, habitat and breeding indices are also desperately low. And if you think it couldn’t get any worse, throw record dry conditions and heat spells into the mix – heat spells set to continue through January to March, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Our native waterbirds – many unique to our country – need our urgent protection.
Birds turn out to be doubly as affected as mammals from climate change, an international team of scientists found, after checking 481 species in 987 populations around the world (published by Zoological Society of London in the journal Global Change Biology). Nearly 40 per cent of the world’s birds are in decline, largely due to human activity including hunting (State of The World’s Birds 2018).
It’s not just the 400,000 to 500,000 birds shot each year in Victoria – and this number is without the minimum one-in-four wounded, flying away to die a slow painful death elsewhere – that are impacted.
There is a ripple effect through the species as many native waterbirds are monogamous, forming lifelong pairs. When one is shot, it’s likely not only the offspring won’t survive but the remaining partner may never recover or re-partner.
Independent experts have submitted compelling scientific reasons for years on why the native waterbird shooting seasons should not go ahead, but every year they go ahead anyway. Season “modifications” make little, if any, difference and are impossible to monitor.
Meanwhile, our native waterbirds are being decimated, along with our rural communities’ chances of prospering from the benefits of nature-based tourism.
Less than 0.4 per cent of the population are licensed to shoot ducks. Only half of them turned out to shoot last season.
It’s time for strong progressive leadership, ditching duck shooting for the more popular, humane, sustainable and lucrative nature-based tourism. It’s time to get it done.
Kerrie Allen, Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting