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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Not the full picture

Not the full picture

Ararat has a lot to offer. There is no disputing that. 

However, I was concerned to read the comments from Stuart Benjamin – ‘Ararat region positioned to drive state’, The Weekly  Advertiser, November 8 – regarding some of the town’s offerings.

Mr Benjamin spoke of our connectivity to the train network, and of our ‘good healthcare system’, and that these two assets leave us well placed to expand aged care. 

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Unfortunately, the lived experience is not quite so rosy. 

The train service is consistently being replaced by buses between Ballarat and Ararat.  If this were occasional, so be it – that’s normal. But it happens so frequently that I have given up on using it entirely. 

The bus blows out travel times and cannot accommodate a multitude of accessibility needs for different populations. 

Until we have consistent train service, we can’t talk about the town in terms of connectivity.

Of greater concern is the healthcare system here. 

I had my child at East Grampians Health Service and I couldn’t speak more highly of them. 

But getting a GP appointment in the town’s only practice is impossible. 

In the first post-partum months, I experienced multiple appointment cancellations, including one that was texted to me from within the building where I had been left in the waiting room for an hour. 

I have to take my family all the way to Beaufort now if I want to see a GP sometime this year. I am aware of other young families with urgent healthcare needs being given a four-week waiting time. Unfortunately, infants can’t wait four weeks for healthcare appointments.

We also have a very high number of locums. 

We welcome them and appreciate their hard work, but for more complex cases, including myself, it means a real lack of continuity of care, which has ongoing impacts on both physical and mental health.

We are an aging population with a healthcare system that is collapsing under demand, and promoting the idea of expanding aged care when the town’s health system cannot sustain its current population is concerning.

I urge Mr Benjamin and anyone else involved in regional development to connect with residents when considering town planning to get the full picture.

Jessie Duncan, Ararat

An easy fix

At Horsham Rural City Council’s October meeting, councillor Ian Ross moved a notice of motion to give some of our most needy volunteers free parking – ‘Motion takes turn’, The Weekly Advertiser, October 25. 

It should have been an easy fix to a simple problem, but once again our council make things more complicated than necessary.

Crs David Bowe and Penny Flynn had an issue with only two volunteer groups being singled out. 

Easy fix. Make an amendment to the motion to give all the charity groups within the CBD a parking permit. 

There aren’t many that would need them.

Cr Bob Redden’s only contribution was noting that food centre clients now had a half-hour of free parking. A comment that added nothing to the debate.

Cr Les Power, self-appointed champion of all the volunteers, said absolutely nothing and then voted against allowing our volunteers a little relief.

Cr Flynn states the notice of motion came up without the opportunity to discuss it. 

The issue was simple and she had all the information needed from last month when she voted on the parking.

How was the four-plus days, following the release of the agenda, not enough time to inform herself?

Cr Flynn quoted the good governance guide. However, she only quoted the 50 percent that suited her purpose. 

The other half stated that a notice of motion can be a useful way to raise an issue which doesn’t require advice or a lot of consideration on a council agenda. 

When Cr Flynn quotes from the good governance guide she should do it in a fair and transparent way.

Cr Robyn Gulline assumed that listeners needed to be lectured on the concept of good governance – an exercise that was both rude and condescending. 

I question the need or relevance of a lecture on good governance to a motion which was simply asking for a couple of free parks for some volunteer groups.

Cr Gulline also stated there was quite a significant section on notices of motion in the Ombudsman’s report from which she was quoting. Five sentences in a document of 181 pages could hardly be considered ‘significant’ – especially as she failed to quote the last sentence. 

This motion was, effectively, a tiny tweak to an update of a parking management plan to restore the status quo.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Kath Dumesny, Horsham 

The entire November 15, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!