Letters to the editor

June 13, 2018

‘Fools multiply when the wise are silent’

IN THE 2015/2016 shire annual report, under Highlights, it states: ‘Review of Port operating model completed’

In the 2016/17 shire annual report under the heading Challenges appears this statement: ‘Progressing the Port of Echuca operating model’

Then mayor Leigh Wilson wrote: ‘“council as infrastructure provider” announcing, in essence, council would take a step back from the day-to-day operations with a suitably qualified contractor in place.

“This will ensure council continues to own and maintain the infrastructure while the operation of the port will be more contemporary and deliver a valuable tourism experience.”

We are now almost at the end of the 2017/18 and mayor Adrian Weston is still talking of progressing the Port model.

What went wrong?

The 2016/17 Budget allocated $516,000 for losses in the Port, now just 12 months later this blunder has snowballed to more than triple the damage.

The forecast loss is a staggering $1,640,000 – that’s not progressing anything other than more debt.

So what’s the explanation?

If council continues its planned loss of $1,640,000 on the Discovery Centre in the Port of Echuca, every single household will be contributing $110 this year to support the business, as ratepayers are the only stakeholders of the Discovery Centre.

And all this while only some 14,000 (in the Echuca area) of the total 36,000 residents of the shire have any chance of benefiting if at all.

Knowing some 975 of these households are earning less than $1000 a week and some 1102 earn less than $649, and many more are not doing that much better, how could such a decision be ethical or moral let alone financially astute?

Councillors including the mayor should be up in arms with shire management about their decisions, not flip flopping the company line as we are hearing.

Speak up for your constituents, get them value for their hard-earned money.

How to not lose $1,640,000 this year – do what you planned to do in 2016 now.

To borrow the sentiment of Nelson Mandela, ‘Fools multiply when the wise are silent’.

Pete Conway


Plastic bag ban will ‘inconvenience many’

HAVING destroyed our cheap and reliable electricity supply, ostensibly for the good of the planet, the greenies are looking for another way to make our lives difficult by targeting the humble plastic bag.

You wouldn’t know it from reading the National Geographic anti-plastic propaganda recycled recently by the Riv, but there are actually two sides to the plastic bag-banning story.

South Australia’s 2009 ban on supermarket bags resulted in a five-fold increase in the number of plastic bin liners purchased, and studies on the environmental impact of various types of bags indicate that the much maligned "single-use" plastic bag has the least environmental impact in terms of the energy and resources used in their production.

Like many green initiatives, the ban on single-use plastic bags will inconvenience many whilst not even guaranteeing an environmental benefit.

Ewan McDonald


No-win situation to put water into irrigation in Farrer, Murray

IT IS unconvincing to claim that the reason 3200 gigalitres of water needs to be removed from irrigation areas is to restore the environment.

A more convincing reason can be found in Federal politics.

Politically, the Federal Liberal National party government has a one seat majority over the Labor party.

The great majority of irrigation occurs in the NSW seat of Farrer and the Victorian seat of Murray, both of which are safe coalition seats. As these are safe seats there is nothing to be gained politically by the Liberal, National or Labor parties by putting water into irrigation, as the Liberal or National party are going to win these seats regardless. However, in South Australia there is the possibility of the Liberal or Labor party winning or losing seats, with water being an issue that could swing seats either way.

A New South Welshman or Victorian speaking to practically any South Australian about water will most probably find themselves on the receiving end of a lecture about how NSW and Victorian farmers are stealing their water and killing the River Murray (as South Australians call it). Readers can conduct their own experiment by randomly phoning any South Australian telephone number and asking what the condition of the River Murray is like.

In general, South Australians are emphatic in their denunciation of irrigation in NSW and Victoria, and militant in their demands that South Australia be given all the water.

Politically, it is a no-win situation to put water into irrigation in Farrer and Murray, while it is an all-win situation to give water to South Australia.

Hence the water goes toward South Australian’s so called environmental interests.

If any reader is wondering if politicians as a group make decisions based on facts, figures, truth and honesty, or make them for the benefit of their constituents – wonder no more.

David Landini

Wakool, NSW

Explanation needed

TO THE mayor and councillors, Murray River Council, through the general manager: Mr Mayor, would you please advise why you moved a motion that 50 per cent of development contributions and charges be waived on behalf of a developer, whose spokesman stated immediately after the request was refused, the development would not be built.

After lengthy debate and much discussion to avoid creating any precedent, you and three other councillors did exactly that.

The figure of $196,000 is obviously made up of many itemised fees and charges – if it is considered some fees and charges should be waived, a monetary amount not a percentage figure should be deducted.

If however the fees and charges referred to should not have been included in the advice to the developer, the information given to council is incorrect.

During discussion whatever took place regarding development applications in the Murray Shire Council and what might happen in the Campaspe Shire is totally irrelevant to the newly created Murray River Council.

It is a business, not a benevolent society.

Bernie Foran


$200 raised for Cancer Council

I WOULD like to sincerely thank the Echuca community for its generous support of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea this May and June.

I was proud to be one of thousands of hosts across Victoria, who supported Cancer Council Victoria’s work by attending or hosting a morning tea – and donating generously.

My Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea event was held at Echuca Library on May 21 with more than 30 attendees showing their support.

Together we raised $200 for Cancer Council Victoria’s prevention programs, life-saving research and support services.

Examples of how this money makes a difference to those affected by cancer include:

Funding some of Victoria’s brightest researchers and their cutting-edge projects each year to help detect, treat and beat cancer.

Funding important prevention programs like Quit, SunSmart and screening programs to make sure people have all the information they need to cut their risk of cancer.

Staffing Cancer Council’s support and information line 13 11 20 with experienced cancer nurses who are there to assist all people affected by cancer.

Again, I would like to sincerely thank the Echuca community as Cancer Council Victoria would not be able to complete the work they do without your support and generosity.

Olivia Gregory

President, Friends of the Library

(with Echuca Library staff)

Go back to the past to save our future

I FIND I cannot keep quiet any longer.

By country standards, I am still a ‘city slicker’ as I have only lived here in Moama for 11 years.

But you complain about “those guys in grey suits from Melbourne, Sydney or Canberra, who wouldn’t have a clue about country life”.

Well I’m sorry to say if our councillors keep going the way they are, then soon neither will they.

Echuca-Moama is a fabulous tourist area but even a primary school kid can look up information about us on their computer, so why bother to visit?

I’m damn sure if I was paying big bucks to fly to our country I would want to see what this famous town’s history is all about, e.g. the blacksmith, the woodturner or steam engines, just to name a few.

Sure we have our paddlesteamers, but that isn’t enough.

Don’t lose our past, our heritage, because once it is gone it will be gone forever and we will become just any other town.

It seems to me you have taken it for granted all your lives as part and parcel, but a tourist doesn’t see it that way.

Maybe by showing them just how different our lives are then just maybe they will understand the struggles we contend with here in the country.

I remember travelling through the country many years ago and my eldest daughter cried out: “Look, horsey-cows”.

Only a fortnight ago a group of us were saying how desperately we needed rain, when one lady said they were at the point of buying water, to which another said: “Don’t be stupid, you don’t buy water”.

We all turned and asked her how else can you get it?

Her reply: “From the sky”.

This mature-aged woman from Sydney genuinely had no idea.

Seriously though, you guys just don’t get it.

You need to go back to the past to save our future.

Our history and heritage are unique to us.

Sell it to our country and to the world and then kids will know and want to see where milk and wool and eggs etc. come from and how our ancestors lived as well.

Just maybe then we won’t have $1.5m deficits in future.

Sue Jones


Bills you could be interested in

LAST week, the following Bills were introduced to the Victorian Parliament which may be of interest to Murray Plains residents:

■Justice Legislation Amendment (Family Violence Protection and Other Matters) Bill 2018.

■Public Administration Amendment (Public Sector Redundancies and Other Matters) Bill 2018.

■Treasury and Finance Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.

More information on the proposed Bills can be found at

Please contact my office if you need help accessing this information.

Peter Walsh

Member for Murray Plains

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