Tim Robinson of Torquay rightfully states (“Secrecy goes hand in hand with shame”, Letters, August 30) that Peter Rees (“Rudd policy to blame”, Letters, August 23) tries to justify Australia’s refugee policy with simplistic claims.
Peter is simplistic in supporting Liberal Party policies and representing the right-wing view of the world without questioning their truthfulness or accuracy and he is blind to the inhuman treatment of those genuine refugees who have been caught up in the process.
Rees further stated “Boat people who have passports, fly into Indonesia, stay at hotels and pay big bucks to people smugglers…”. This statement further exposes us to the ignorance and ridiculousness of Rees, as these rich refugees would, and could, use their passport and continue their flight to Australia. After all, Liberal Prime Ministers have stated coming to Australia by boat, not aircraft, is banned. I have had face-to-face discussion with Peter Rees. He simplistically stated then that refugees coming to Australia by boat were illegal and that they were jumping the queue. I asked him: what law were they breaking, and where was the queue located? Despite being asked twice, he could not answer my questions. I then asked him who maintained the list of those in the queue. Again he could not answer!
There is no hope for those genuine refugees and their families fleeing death and destruction when the unquestioning right-wing red necks in our midst blindly state comments that have no justification.
Pick My Project – The Springs Dell Boardwalk
It is most distressing to me, and I believe would be to many residents of the Bellarine, that the historic mineral springs that gave Clifton Springs its name, are continually being eroded into the bay.
But we can now do something about it. I encourage everyone to go to the Pick My Project website and vote for the The Springs Dell Boardwalk.
This will not only protect the historic site but will also provide the community with a much-needed safe continuous foreshore walk from The Dell to Edgewater.
Playing at semantics
When members of Surf Coast Rural Australians for Refugees contact members of the federal government about concern for those in offshore detention, the replies are predictable: “there are no longer any refugees held in detention on Manus or Nauru. People can come and go from the accommodation and many have already settled in the community”.
This response is playing at semantics and all depends on one’s definition of “detention”. Refugees may not now be locked behind barbed wire but they are detained and without freedom on both islands.
Last week’s report from the Refugee Council of Australia: “Australia’s man-made crisis on Nauru. Six years on” teases out the effects of such “detention”.
Here are some highlights:
- The dramatic escalation of children with symptoms of traumatic withdrawal syndrome.
- Legal intervention forced 25 overseas medical requests for transfer to Australia in the past eight months against Australian government blocks.
- Around 50 overseas medical requests being actively blocked by the Australian government.
- Children as young as seven with repeated incidents of suicidality and self-harm, including incidents of setting themselves alight.
- 35 families separated.
- Accounts of rape and sexual abuse of females, including by those paid to protect them, with at least 24 women flown to Australia to terminate pregnancies, many of them as a result of rape.
- The U.S. deal to resettle 1,250 refugees has only resulted in around 371 people leaving in almost two years since the agreement.
When will our elected representatives come to their senses?
Member, Surf Coast Rural Australian for Refugees
There has been no report of the discovery of that missing horde of ammunition we heard of a few months ago.
Has it been hushed up? Or put in the too-tricky box?
It’s been said that the best place to hide something is in the most obvious spot. Therefore it could be stashed in a certain location in Anglesea.
If so, we may have an extravaganza extraordinaire coming up, well-worth watching in a few weeks’ time.
Release the docs
I write to question statements made by several Borough of Queenscliffe spokespeople in various local papers in relation to the Destination Queenscliff (DQ) project.
These state that despite the loss of the state government’s contribution to the project it “will continue to be implemented” presumably using Federal National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) funding but “(the proposed) pathways, new public amenities and public park areas would now be scrapped.
Council claims “it is important to reinforce that funding [for these] was not part of the NSRF DQ project”.
It is however precisely these improvements that the majority of the community showed they wanted when over 1,000 locals signed a petition to the state government.
Readers will remember the petition essentially questioned the size, site and desirability of the 40-seat kiosk/café and the 10 tourist lodgings and asked for further community consultation to determine more appropriate uses of the funding.
Council has recently downloaded to its website 18 docs/extracts relating to DQ but not the NSRF docs.
My recollection of the NSRF details include $1.242 million for six cabins and some $400,000 for landscaping and walkways, seating, barbecue, play and ship viewing areas, along with improvements to the Anzac Day commemoration facilities.
The provision for new public toilets was included in the $525,000 allocation for a café/visitor hub.
I call on council to release the NSRF docs for public scrutiny.
The Surf Coast Times report (“Shire plugs in to funding to clean up e-waste”, September 6) says that council will spend around $300,000 towards “previously planned” e-waste infrastructure.
But no provision is made for “project management, design, engineering or approval costs”. Will this, then lead to the sort of half-baked processes that gave us the Lara landfill debacle?
We’re deep in the wind wow-zone, but hold on a sec
I have asked the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, to put on hold all wind farm permits in south-west Victoria.
I have done this not to inhibit the state’s responsibility to support renewable energy but to enable a comprehensive review of the impacts of wind farms in this region to date.
And there are many wind farms, with many more to come to achieve the state’s Renewable Energy Target of 40 per cent by 2025.
I want to understand the social, economic and environmental impacts of these wind farms. I want to know how they impact health, amenity, landscape and lifestyle.
There are enough wind farms out there now to instruct on that.
But so many more are planned and we are heading into unknown territory.
What we have seen so far are significant taxpayer subsidies going into an industry that promises much more than it delivers into the national energy grid.
At Inverleigh, near Geelong, farmers are right to be anxious about the latest proposal for a 16-turbine wind farm in a farming zone. They’re most worried about the industrialisation of their rural landscape.
However, that project will be dwarfed by another.
WestWind Energy wants to build a 228-turbine wind farm. It will be known as the Golden Plains wind farm and will be the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
On paper, it sounds wonderful, its potential extraordinary, it’s feel-good factor deep in the wow-zone.
But we are far from perfect world status here.
The Golden Plains wind farm will sidle up to another four wind farms, creating a six kilometre stretch of turbines – 310 in total – with their associated poles, wires and substations.
We must make sure we get this right. Changing the landscape forever is a very big decision to make.
Simon Ramsay MP
Member for Western Victoria
Pick My Project
Be sure to vote on local “Pick My Projects” and include “Surf Coast Nautical Rise Indigenous Edible Garden”. Just a quick reminder to your readers that the ‘Pick My Project’ voting closes this coming Monday September 17 at 5pm.
All you have to do is call the “Pick My Project” Team on 1800 797 818 and they will create an account to complete your local vote.
For those who have an email address but no mobile number, the team can complete the verification for you.
Call them when you’ve created your account and picked your three favourite project ideas.
I would encourage our residents to select ‘Surf Coast Nautical Rise Indigenous Edible Garden.’ We need your votes for this first of its kind community garden!
The proposed Community Indigenous Edible Garden preliminary design is for an interactive ‘pick and eat’ indigenous culinary garden showing proposed planting focused on Aboriginal seasonal indicators (see BOM Aboriginal calendar link bom.gov.au/iwk/calendars/gariwerd.shtml).
Traditional Aboriginal society in this area differentiated six distinct seasons through the year. Plants proposed for this space will become prolific at different times and will aid in identifying the seasons. Early consultation with the Wadawurrung, the local traditional owners of the land, has been very positive and it is proposed that this relationship continues through the evolution of the site.
In June 2018, the Surf Coast Shire Council endorsed the merit of this proposal.
We hope you will consider and vote for this unique Community Garden project model for further ones throughout our Shire. Visit pickmyproject.vic.gov.au.
Thank you for your consideration and vote.
John De Witt