Let­ters to the edi­tor

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

‘It’s time to clean up our game re­serves’

AN ELECTED Lib­eral Na­tion­als Govern­ment will clean up Vic­to­ria’s ne­glected state game re­serves by giv­ing users a greater role in main­tain­ing them. There has been grow­ing con­cern that Vic­to­ria’s 200 state game re­serves (SGRs) are be­ing poorly man­aged un­der Daniel An­drews, with re­ports pest an­i­mals and weeds are get­ting out of con­trol, dam­aged fenc­ing and in­ad­e­quate – or non-ex­is­tent – sig­nage. It’s time to clean up our game re­serves and give users a greater role in their man­age­ment. A Lib­eral Na­tion­als Govern­ment will trans­fer man­age­ment func­tions for Vic­to­ria’s SGRs to the Game Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity, from Parks Vic­to­ria, by mak­ing the rel­e­vant amend­ments to the Wildlife Act 1975. It means mem­bers of Field and Game or other reg­is­tered hunt­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions will have the op­por­tu­nity to be part of bet­ter man­age­ment and con­ser­va­tion of our game re­serves, for the ben­e­fit of these nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments and the en­joy­ment of tens of thou­sands of recre­ational hunters in Vic­to­ria. Hunt­ing con­trib­utes more than $435 mil­lion to the Vic­to­rian econ­omy each year gen­er­at­ing about 4500 di­rect and in-di­rect jobs, largely in re­gional Vic­to­ria. But this is at risk with the threat of a La­bor-Greens govern­ment. The Greens are no friend to Vic­to­ria’s recre­ational hunters, with their stated pol­icy ob­jec­tives in­clud­ing ban­ning all duck hunt­ing and “the end of recre­ational hunt­ing on pub­lic land”. Only a Lib­eral Na­tion­als Govern­ment will sup­port bet­ter recre­ational hunt­ing in Vic­to­ria by clean­ing up our game re­serves and giv­ing users a greater role in main­tain­ing them. Peter Walsh Mem­ber for Mur­ray Plains

Govern­ment ‘to­tally out of touch’ with ru­ral Aus­tralia

AT THE Drought Sum­mit the Prime Min­is­ter made an an­nounce­ment which in­cluded a $15.3 mil­lion men­tal health pack­age. Money that could have stayed in the govern­ment’s pocket had govern­ment made good de­ci­sions in the first place. For ir­ri­ga­tion com­mu­ni­ties poor govern­ment pol­icy is a ma­jor cause of men­tal health is­sues. The lack of vi­sion for long-term wa­ter se­cu­rity shows the govern­ment is to­tally out of touch with the needs of ru­ral Aus­tralia. Cur­rently the govern­ment is spend­ing $13 bil­lion to re­move wa­ter from the very re­gions which were es­tab­lished to drought proof the coun­try. Now they are spend­ing $5 bil­lion to make ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and farm­ers more re­silient. Right now the Mur­ray Val­ley in NSW is in a man­made drought, with wa­ter in stor­ages yet farm­ers on zero al­lo­ca­tion – a ma­jor source of stress emo­tion­ally, fi­nan­cially and men­tally. The men­tal health is­sues of farm­ers across the south­ern basin would have been con­sid­er­ably im­proved if the govern­ment had an­nounced they were spend­ing some of the $5 bil­lion on projects in South Aus­tralia to im­prove the man­age­ment of the Coorong and Lower Lakes. Re­turn­ing the South-East drains to the Coorong and in­stalling Lock 0 could po­ten­tially free up thou­sands of gi­gal­itres of wa­ter for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. In­stead of watch­ing the Mur­ray River run a banker at many places, the Mur­ray farm­ers could be pro­duc­ing food for the rest of the coun­try, rather than stuck on zero per­cent and be­com­ing part of the prob­lem. Un­for­tu­nately, the Drought Sum­mit has missed a golden op­por­tu­nity. Ru­ral mes­sages are not get­ting through to our politi­cians and it is time to get voices into Can­berra who will rep­re­sent the grass roots and will be lis­tened to. Darcy Hare Barham NSW

Small busi­ness the first to hurt in a drought

THE $5 mil­lion drought fu­ture fund an­nounced on Fri­day by our Prime Min­is­ter again high­lights how far away our de­ci­sion makers are from ru­ral re­al­ity. There seems to be very lit­tle men­tion of small busi­ness that re­lies on farm­ers for its very sur­vival. Small busi­ness in ru­ral towns is the first to feel the pain in a drought. Ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in the Mur­ray Val­ley are cur­rently in a man­made drought as wa­ter flows right past and to South Aus­tralia. The Aus­tralian govern­ment is spend­ing $13 bil­lion on dis­man­tling the coun­try’s drought proof­ing, which was al­ready es­tab­lished by our fore­fa­thers – its $5 bil­lion band aid is not a long term so­lu­tion. Fix the mis­man­age­ment of fresh wa­ter by South Aus­tralia and you would free up thou­sands of gi­gal­itres of wa­ter for pro­duc­tion Let­ters to the edi­tor must be no more than 300 words. All let­ters must in­clude the author’s name for pub­li­ca­tion and a res­i­den­tial ad­dress and phone num­ber for clar­i­fi­ca­tion and ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Un­less emailed, all let­ters must in­clude a sig­na­ture. The edi­tor re­serves the right to edit or with­hold let­ters. ONCE again our mis­in­formed Mem­ber for Mur­ray Plains has got it wrong about the rub­bish strewn around Richard­sons La­goon, blam­ing sum­mer hol­i­day makers for the rub­bish left be­hind by duck shoot­ers. We, the res­i­dents, do the clean­ing up of shot­gun shells and dead na­tive birds, not to men­tion the fae­ces and toi­let pa­per all around their camps. I’ve lived on the banks of this la­goon for 10 years and never seen any­one from GMA or Peter Walsh. I no­ticed an ar­ti­cle in the River­ine Her­ald when a res­i­dent from Richard­sons La­goon de­liv­ered dead na­tive birds, a shot pel­i­can and thou­sands of spent shot­gun car­tridges to your of­fice. Was that the sum­mer campers? How dare you blame the campers who con­trib­ute mil­lions of dol­lars to our lo­cal econ­omy, un­like duck shoot­ers who con­trib­ute noth­ing to our lo­cal econ­omy. It’s time for change. Eco tourism is the way to go for these wet­lands, bush­walk­ers, bird watch­ers, artists and kayak­ers. Not the sound of gun­fire for three months of the year. Harry Pugh Tor­rum­barry

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