The Corangamite electorate is home to many hospitality businesses, both in the holiday visitor areas of the Great Ocean Road and the Bellarine and the larger regional towns such as Torquay, Winchelsea and Colac.
At the same time as federal politicians will be receiving a significant pay increase, low-paid workers in the hospitality industry are facing a reduction to their pay through cuts in penalty rates.
With the cost of living, especially power bills, increasing, is this fair? Is this class warfare in reverse?
Bell tolls in Spring Creek
How passionate is the mayor really?
Surf Coast mayor David Bell claims he is still trying to preserve the Spring Creek environment and now has the perfect opportunity to act and prove his claim by simply ensuring the current law is applied to the Spring Creek Structure Plan.
Mr Bell, you say you are passionate about Spring Creek, well you are now in the position to put those words into action.
As Mr Bell should know, if the 2017 regulations are applied, developers must then make a choice of whether to:
a) continue to develop Spring Creek,
b) reduce the number of Bellarine yellow gums removed or
c) reduce the number of houses planned to enable the land offsets to be adhered to.
Any of these moves will preserve more of the Spring Creek environment and that is the intention of the new regulations, ie. “to protect the vulnerable species of Bellarine yellow gums.”
Also Mr Bell, please think about the 2017 regulations that were gazetted after a 12-month community consultation.
You and I know that the developers were aware of this process and had their opportunity to contribute and now surely must abide by the law.
It is also interesting that the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) don’t even recognise the importance of their own regulations as they state in their preamble their intention is to protect this endangered species.
This stand of trees is what the regulations have been designed to protect.
By playing games, “transitioning” and ignoring the 2017 regulation, council is being pro Spring Creek development and anti-environment, as is DELWP.
So, Mr Bell, which of these are you? All councillors might ask themselves the same question and if they do not ensure the 2017 regulations are adhered to, I think we know the answer.
America absent from Hamel commemoration
The July 5 letter from Minister for Veterans’ Affairs (“Centenary of the Battle of Hamel”) recounted the importance of the Battle of Hamel 100 years ago on July 4.
It was Australia’s greatest victory in World War I, where under the command of General Monash, 1,000 Americans fought alongside Australian servicemen and 176 were killed in action. Notably the Battle of Hamel was the first major engagement by America’s army overseas.
I was surprised in watching the live telecast of the centenary anniversary at the lack of American involvement – there were no senior diplomats, politicians or four-star generals.
In my view, their absence at such a significant event reflects badly on the Australian Government and Australia’s Ambassador in Washington, Joe Hockey.
Does it also send a message to the Australian people that America is losing interest in our so-called special relationship?
NAIDOC Week: “because of her, we can”
This week, July 8-15 is NAIDOC week across Australia. Following this year’s theme of ‘because of her, we can’ I want to tell you about the importance of women in all the work I do especially within my Aboriginal Services.
Women play a significant role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and this NAIDOC week we are asked to reflect on their contribution to the growth and development of our country.
For at least 65,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge.
In more recent times they have been there at the forefront of major turning points in Australian culture and history. From the Torres Strait Pearlers strike in 1936, to the 1967 Referendum – which included Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples in Australia’s population figures – to more modern issues such as the 2008 apology, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women have been a driving force for Aboriginal rights.
Having strong female role models is absolutely crucial to helping young people grow, not only is it important for young women, but young men draw so much from mothers, grandmothers, aunties and friends.
Across my organisation, Youth Off The Streets, we have female staff in every program, from schools to outreach to specialist services the women in our programs contribute enormous amounts to bettering the lives of young people.
We have so much to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture. There are many inspiring stories from women on the NAIDOC week website at naidoc.org.au. This NAIDOC week I ask you to reflect on the theme of “because of her, we can” and think about how important women have been in supporting you and your community.
Father Chris Riley
CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets
The opinions expressed here are the opinions of the letter writers exclusively and do not express the views of the Editor or Surf Coast News Pty Ltd.