Letters to the editor | Riverine Herald


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As R.H. Desailly points out, there seems to be some duck-shoving going on between the Campaspe Shire Council and the Environment Protection Authority as to who is responsible.

The residents of the ‘Island’ opposite this disgrace had a visit from council’s CEO and executive director who put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the EPA.

But surely council has some sort of responsibility, given it manages council rubbish disposal.

The question now is: who is going to clean up the mess?

We have drums, barrels, fridges, hot water systems, hay bales all lined up along Warren St and beyond, waiting for a decision to be made: who is going to pay for the clean-up and when?

Can we expect an answer?

Marilyn Jacksch,

Campaspe Community Association Inc secretary

Why rush? Time is of the essence for Murray-Darling Basin Plan

There is no logical, common-sense answer to why the Albanese Government is trying to rush through its water recovery strategy before Christmas. Nor are water buybacks the best recovery method.

From the outset, achieving best results from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has been compromised by timelines and political agendas. We all want a plan that protects our environment, communities and food-producing farmers. This will not be achieved with haste.

The current flood situation across the Basin has delivered sufficient water for immediate environmental needs. It therefore makes sense to take stock of what water has been recovered and how it can be used for maximum benefit.

The Basin Plan was developed during the Millennium Drought and a lot has since changed. Rather than being in such a rush to finish the plan, at this point we should be reviewing whether sufficient water has been recovered, and what additional measures can be undertaken to achieve the right balance between all needs, including growing food to help ease cost-of-living pressures.

And perhaps there are better ways to manage our water and therefore minimise the cost of recovery, such as broader criteria around efficiency projects, utilising the Adelaide desalination plant, or other infrastructure works around the end of the system.

Barging ahead with buybacks, which seems the preferred option of Water Minister Tanya Plibersek and her Canberra-based bureaucracy, might be the easy option, but it’s not the best one for an “adaptable plan”.

Lloyd Polkinghorne,

Speak Up Campaign

Barham

Queen Elizabeth II was always loyal — yet fickle Markle puts Fonda on front page!

As our eldest daughter has battled cancer for many years, I am not unsympathetic to American actress Jane Fonda’s similar battle.

However, American Meghan Markle (a former B-grade actress) must honour British royalty’s history of always serving in the front line when Britain goes to war!

In World War II, Prince George, Duke of Kent (uncle of Queen Elizabeth II) was killed while on active RAF service.

It must be remembered just dear departed Queen Elizabeth II’s late husband, Prince Philip, served bravely in the Royal Navy in World War II.

Her son Prince Andrew (despite all his faults) also served bravely in the Royal Navy during the Falklands War; and Meghan Markle’s husband, the late Queen’s grandson Prince Harry, twice served bravely in the British Army in Afghanistan!

So why on Earth would Meghan Markle take any pride in dastardly Vietnam War traitor Jane Fonda gracing the cover of the edition of British Vogue that Markle guest-edited?

To this very day, the nefarious Fonda is a disgrace to the memory of every fallen American (and western society) soldier!

Shame on the so very fickle Meghan Markle and on former British soldier Prince Harry, for inflicting such distasteful baggage on the Royal Family, which was so ably and faithfully led for seven decades by the late Queen Elizabeth II, who herself served in Britain’s armed forces during the darkest hours of World War II!

Howard Hutchins,

Chirnside Park

Australia’s vaping story needs a reboot

The nationwide panic about youth vaping has recently dominated Australian media, with daily reports of young people accessing these products. Youth vaping is a legitimate concern; however, it has distracted us from the main purpose of vaping as an quitting aid for adult smokers and the huge potential benefit it brings to public health.

Australia’s experience with vaping is unique. Australia is the only western country to require a doctor’s prescription to vape with nicotine liquids, breaking ranks with its global counterparts.

The prescription-only model aimed to restrict youth vaping while enabling adult smokers to access the product to help them quit smoking. However, after 18 months, it is clear that it has failed on both counts. A dangerous, thriving black market has developed, happily selling dodgy disposable products to young people. Meanwhile, adult smokers — for whom vaping can be lifesaving — find it almost impossible to access nicotine vapes legally.

It’s easy to get lost in the emotion here — young people should not smoke or vape.

However, the growth of youth vaping has sparked widespread alarm that has dangerously changed the perception of vaping products. We’ve all seen reports of so-called “health warnings” about vaping: “The new vaping epidemic”. We’ve read anecdotal accounts of health issues sparked by vaping. We’ve even heard that vaping may be worse for us than smoking.

This is all patently untrue. Vaping products are certainly not risk-free, but the science has shown vaping to be far less harmful than smoking, around five per cent of the risk of deadly cigarettes. Importantly, its effectiveness as a smoking cessation aid is now undeniable.

In New Zealand, smoking rates are falling faster than ever. Since vaping was legalised in 2020, the adult smoking rate has declined by an unprecedented 33 per cent in two years.

Just this week, the UK government released its annual report on adult smoking habits, which found that in 2021, 13.3 per cent of adult smoked, a five per cent decrease from 2020. The report concluded that “vaping devices such as e-cigarettes have played a major role in the decrease in smoking prevalence in the UK”.

However, in Australia, adult smoking has declined by about two per cent per year since 2013.

A recent modelling study found that Australia would fail to reach its daily adult smoking target of less than five per cent by 2030 by a wide margin. The authors of that study concluded that the strict prescription-only model was a major barrier to higher rates of quitting.

Despite Australia’s strict tobacco control laws and having the highest cigarette prices in the world, fewer adult smokers are quitting because there simply aren’t effective alternatives that work for most people.

Clearly, Australia desperately needs to reboot its vaping story and fix the mistakes the prohibitionist model created.

Outright bans and heavy restrictions are only placing the government in a position where it can’t control vaping at all. Black markets simply cannot be regulated.

Instead, the government needs to look at a fresh approach that creates a legal market for adult smokers. By drawing adult vapers into a legitimate regulated market like other adult consumer products (such as alcohol and even cigarettes), the black market will become less profitable and will diminish. Severe penalties and loss of licence should apply to retailers who sell to minors, child-proof packaging will reduce the risk of accidental exposure, and more adult smokers will quit deadly cigarettes.

The result will be a substantial acceleration in the decline of Australia’s smoking rate, and protection for our young Australians to prevent them from accessing vaping products.

Australia was once a leader in tobacco control. It’s not too late for it to become one again.

Dr Colin Mendelsohn,

Founding chairman of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association

Family’s legacy lives on

I recently sent a picture to you of Clover Glover taken many years ago for The Age in Melbourne.

I wish to apologise for sending it, as, at the age of 90 and time running out, I thought some people may remember her father, Jock Wilson, from the horse racing industry and the work he did in the meat industry for Victoria and Australia.

Clover, who was Clover Wilson, lives in Echuca West and is known in the area for her volunteering work at the hospital.

Two of our sons live in Victoria.

Cameron Glover is an employee of a local supermarket and also connected with horse racing.

To add to the story I sent you, it’s only recently he went to the local races on a rare cold day in Echuca and asked his mother, Clover, for something to wear.

Out came ‘grandfather’s overcoat’, which he wore to the track.

He attributed his horse winning its first race to the coat given to him.

I’m writing to you to keep alive what Jock Wilson did in establishing the meat industry in Victoria and Australia, and those who remember him and Clover, his daughter.

Reginald Glover,

Bar Beach

On track to be ignored

Peter Walsh’s letter should have been titled ‘Voters used to have a local voice with clout’.

He now sits in his ivory tower in Collins St, content that his flock have come back to the party and the door to the Premier’s office, that was well used by the three independents, is slammed shut.

Roger Perry,

Shepparton

Thinking of home

I will be coming home one day

I will be coming home one day

but I don’t know yet when

I have been away a long time now

and things have changed since then.

I will be walking along the road

I used to take when young

to catch the train and go to school

in a nearby district town.

When I have reached our garden

I will be trying not to cry

remembering my dear parents

waving me the last goodbye.

Jiri Kolenaty,

Rushworth

Libs need new direction

The Victorian branch of the Liberal Party needs to reinvent itself it is to remain relevant, politically.

Its performance in the recent state election was downright embarrassing when everything was in its favour.

Matthew Guy had two chances to ‘deliver the goods’ and failed lamentably on both occasions.

Hopefully new leader John Pesutto is the first step towards rebuilding the fortunes of the party.

Michael J Gamble,

Belmont

OPINION POLICY

The Riverine Herald welcomes letters to the editor.

All letters must carry the writer’s name, address and telephone number for verification purposes.

Preference will be given to shorter letters emailed to [email protected] or you can post it to Riverine Herald, 28 Percy St, Echuca, 3564.

The editor reserves the right to edit all letters, either for length or legal reasons, or omit letters.

The views of the letter writers don’t necessarily reflect the views of the paper.


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