Team­work is key

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Letters -

Sig­nif­i­cant gov­ern­ment fund­ing for Lon­gerenong Col­lege to be­come an educa­tional bench­mark in the use of tech­nol­ogy in grain pro­duc­tion is more than a sim­ple win for the col­lege.

It also rep­re­sents a vic­tory for re­gional col­lec­tive think­ing and how, if we have the right ideas and av­enues to gov­ern­ment, we can in­flu­ence in­vest­ment in our part of the world.

The State Gov­ern­ment is pro­vid­ing $2.5-mil­lion for a $3.6-mil­lion project to trans­form the col­lege’s 1000-hectare farm into a tech­nol­ogy-demon­stra­tion prop­erty.

It will add a dra­matic new di­men­sion to the col­lege in its abil­ity to pro­vide cut­ting-edge ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices for an in­dus­try that is con­tin­u­ally cap­i­tal­is­ing on the evo­lu­tion of tech­nol­ogy

It is a project that comes broadly un­der the head­ing of ‘Agtech’, a re­gional re­search and de­vel­op­ment con­cept that gained trac­tion through a Wim­mera South­ern Mallee Re­gional Part­ner­ship.

If the gov­ern­ment needs an ex­am­ple of how its di­rect-av­enue-to-gov­ern­ment re­gional part­ner­ship process works, it need look no fur­ther than this project.

This was an idea that float­ing in the ether be­tween in­dus­try in­sid­ers gath­ered mo­men­tum when put on the ta­ble in think-tank dis­cus­sions.

The method­ol­ogy is per­haps ir­rel­e­vant. Govern­ments that have come and gone have of­ten used a va­ri­ety of so­ci­ety-en­gage­ment sys­tems to meet the needs of peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties.

What is im­por­tant is the ex­am­ple of what can hap­pen, when we are armed with a re­gional-de­vel­op­ment agenda, put our heads to­gether and thrash out ideas. It is no sur­prise that Wim­mera De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, Lon­gerenong Col­lege, Skillinves­t, Birchip Crop­ping Group and Gwmwa­ter as well as re­gional part­ner­ship rep­re­sen­ta­tives are all part of this col­lege win.

There are many pro­gres­sive minds in all these groups.

Lon­gerenong Col­lege is on a roll and the Vic­to­rian Coali­tion has also pledged to pro­vide $525,000 to help re­fur­bish the col­lege’s age­ing agribusi­ness cen­tre if it wins power next month.

If the busi­ness cen­tre needs some ex­tra oomph to get it across the line, then per­haps it also needs a greater col­lab­o­ra­tive lob­by­ing ef­fort.

But why stop at the col­lege? If re­gional part­ner­ship com­mu­nity assem­blies have told us any­thing, it is that there are countless ben­e­fi­cial ideas, projects and direc­tions we can nut out and pur­sue as a re­gion.

Hal­loween hu­mour

SIR, – It is Oc­to­ber. Foot­ball con­ver­sa­tions have dropped and com­plaints about Hal­loween have started.

The eve of All Hal­low is as­so­ci­ated with gaudy or­ange and black dec­o­ra­tions, which spring to life and make the most un­re­al­is­tic cack­les.

Ev­ery year my good wife dec­o­rates her house and I mar­vel at the lat­est plas­tic gad­get, which in­spires fear in no­body. She en­joys it and so do the 100 or so chil­dren who ar­rive at her house, on the edge of St Ar­naud, laugh­ing all the way.

I hear com­plaints that Hal­loween is as Amer­i­can as Mar­vel Comics and Don­ald Trump.

Hal­loween be­gan be­fore the English set­tled the Amer­i­cas – in a small place called Ire­land. Pa­gans, be­fore Chris­tian­ity vil­i­fied them, recog­nised the veil be­tween our world and the next world waned.

To help their an­ces­tors look in and bless the pre-de­ceased, Ir­ish peo­ple hol­lowed out turnips to hold can­dles. These would be placed at the front gate overnight.

When North Amer­ica was be­ing set­tled the Ir­ish took the tra­di­tion and their an­ces­tors with them. Turnips were re­placed with pump­kins and the United States ob­ses­sion be­gun.

‘Hal­loween is com­mer­cialised’, peo­ple groan. Make no bones about it; I am against com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion and con­sumerism. I am ap­palled at the tril­lion-dol­lar in­dus­try of Hal­loween cos­tumes for pets – if you don’t be­lieve me search it up. Pet cos­tumes are a thing and it is big busi­ness.

I am ap­palled by the amount of dis­pos­able plas­tic dec­o­ra­tions that fill our shops be­tween AFL grand fi­nal and Christ­mas. Hal­loween just hap­pens to add to the mix. Yes, Hal­loween is com­mer­cial. So is the AFL grand fi­nal, Christ­mas, Easter, An­zac Day and Aus­tralia Day.

Do it on the cheap. Last year, my chil­dren went trick-or-treat­ing. My daugh­ter’s cos­tume came from her wardrobe and my son’s zom­bie clothes cost maybe $5 from an op shop. Make-up was im­pro­vised with per­ma­nent mark­ers.

‘Chil­dren wan­der­ing the streets and talk­ing to strangers’ is the next com­plaint. Su­per­vise them. Dress up your­self, and get in the spirit.

Par­ents don’t score lol­lies, we stand back and en­joy our chil­dren hav­ing fun – my idea of par­ent­ing. We talk to other par­ents about the best homes to visit.

The lazy par­ent will team their kids up with other kids, send them out as a pack, armed with mo­bile phones.

As for me, af­ter I run a Hal­loween trick-or-treat event at Ararat Food Grow­ers Com­mu­nity Gar­den, I’ll light a can­dle and place it near the fam­ily pho­tos. I’ll say a prayer for my grandma and have some scorched al­monds for my dad, know­ing that they will be close and proud. Bernard Quince Ararat

Rail clam­our

SIR, – There has been a lot of clam­our by the ma­jor par­ties re­gard­ing re­gional rail, as is usual at this time be­fore elec­tions. They are each of­fer­ing to im­prove or ex­tend some pas­sen­ger ser­vices here or there.

Aus­tralian Coun­try Party-give It Back sees rail as one of the two key fea­tures to its plan to re­vive the west­ern Vic­to­rian econ­omy and com­mu­ni­ties.

In ad­di­tion to pas­sen­ger ser­vices to Mil­dura and other west­ern Vic­to­rian cities, a high pri­or­ity will be a di­rect con­nec­tion of west­ern Vic­to­ria rail freight to the In­land Rail­way. This project is al­ready un­der up­grade-con­struc­tion.

The In­land Rail­way con­nects to the port of Bris­bane and the Toowoomba-well­camp air­port with its di­rect flights to China. This con­nec­tion is nec­es­sary for south­ern Aus­tralia to take ad­van­tage of our free-trade agree­ments with Asian coun­tries.

The sec­ond key fea­ture is our ex­port in­cu­ba­tor pro­gram. Start­ing with ru­ral busi­nesses, the ex­port in­cu­ba­tor will as­sist small busi­nesses take ad­van­tage of our free-trade agree­ments.

It will take them by the hand and walk them through ev­ery step and con­nect them with ap­proved dis­trib­u­tors at the other end. This will en­sure all Vic­to­ri­ans can have an op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from free­trade agree­ments, which suc­ces­sive govern­ments of both colours have been so keen to sign.

We be­lieve this plan, cou­pled with other gov­ern­ment in­cen­tives, will lead to an era of eco­nomic pros­per­ity for west­ern Vic­to­ria. Rail re­de­vel­op­ment is not just some­thing that ACP-GIB pulls out ev­ery elec­tion to win votes. It is core to our strat­egy of re­viv­ing ru­ral Vic­to­ria. Costa Di Bi­ase Can­di­date for West­ern Vic­to­ria Re­gion, Aus­tralian Coun­try Party-give It Back

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