Service centre proposal
On January 8, the Ararat Advertiser alerted its readership that Pyrenees shire had received a planning application to build a highway service centre near Beaufort and Middle Creek in an online article titled: Could another fast food outlet be destined for the Western Highway?
This proposed development raises several concerns.
It will create an eyesore as it is planned to be sited on open farmland in the middle of what is now a glorious vista from Boxes Cutting and the Western Highway to Mount Langi Ghiran, Mount Buangor, Mount Cole, the Grampians and the volcanic plains with their ancient red gums.
The proposed highway service centre will cover 1.7 hectares and is to be open all day, every day. Such a centre would be polluting due to rubbish, 24/7 lighting and noise and potentially polluting for the nearby fiery creek and environs.
The development is speculative as it anticipates that the highway becomes a freeway and that Beaufort is bypassed. The bypassing of Beaufort is still being evaluated, there is no approved funding for its construction and VicRoads has no plan for the highway to be upgraded to a freeway. Despite this, the planning application treats these major changes as a fait accompli when potentially neither will eventuate.
The proposed highway service centre will diminish Beauforts capacity to be a township service centre and create a blight on the landscape in so doing.
Anyone with a concern is encouraged to put in an objection to planning application 2771/18. Forms are available from the Pyrenees shire and online. In the Ararat Advertiser article it was stated that objections would be accepted until January 14, however council officers have advised that they will receive objections until council meets to determine this application, which has yet to be announced.
Gabrielle Brennan, Buangor
At 9.58am on February 19, 1942 Japanese aircraft began the first of two bombing attacks on the city of Darwin, signalling the moment the Second World War was brought to our shores.
Lieutenant Owen Griffiths recounted the attacks: "The air over the harbour was comfortable full of Japanese dive bombers and fighter planes. There seemed just sufficient room between each to allow the next one to manoeuvre. There were so many planes diving and twisting about that at first I thought the enemy planes were having dog-fights with our planes."
The attack lasted for 40 minutes, with the Japanese sinking eight of the 47 ships in the harbour.
Eighty minutes later, the second attack started - this time concentrating on the Royal Australian Air Force station, which was further inland.
Attacks would continue on towns across Australias north, including Katherine, Broome, Townsville, Wyndham and Cairns, with the final attack on Darwin on November 12, 1943.
Tragically, Australia and its allies lost about 900 people, 77 aircraft and several ships, with many military and civilian facilities destroyed.
In November last year, Darwin hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - the first visit to Darwin by a Japanese Prime Minister since the bombing raids during the Second World War.
While Australia, and in particularly the Northern Territory, will never forget the events of February 19, 1942 they will remember this historic visit by Mr Abe as a sign of great respect to those who served and died during the Second World War.
On Bombing of Darwin Day we remember and honour all those who served and died protecting our shores more than 75 years ago.
Lest we forget.
Darren Chester, Veterans Affairs Minister