Get traffic back into the mall
It seems that we are all taking turns at writing letters about the catastrophic disintegration of the Hargreaves Mall.
I've written and so have others. I for one am not doing this out of a smug 'I told you so' motivation. I much prefer to shop in real shopping strips with non-chain businesses.
I love variety and surprises. I also don't go shopping to sit on expensive seats or to admire bubbling water features. The Marketplace model is appearing in every city and town.
They are in the same vein as housing with no back yards and indoor garages that enable you to quickly get indoors to your computers and entertainment devices.
Pull down the pointless screens. Relocate what can be used elsewhere. Get traffic and parking back into the Mall.
Get the over-engineered bus stops, shelters and devices around into Queen Street. The Mitchell Street and Hargreaves Street intersection was once an important civic landmark.
Now it is dominated by bus structures and related unsavoury non-stop live 'street theatre'. Sorry, but it just is!
John Morton, Bendigo
Children suffering most in humanitarian crisis
As the festive season rapidly approaches and families across Australia make plans to get together, hundreds of thousands of families camping out in Bangladesh are not so fortunate.
In Bangladesh, the world’s fastest growing humanitarian emergency shows no sign of easing, as more than 618,000 Rohingya people are now in an impossibly difficult situation.
Plan International is there to help. Our aid workers are working hard to make life in these appalling makeshift camps safer for babies, children and women, who are particularly vulnerable.
It’s estimated more than 60% of the Rohingya who are now living in makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, are women and children.
Ensuring their safety in a precarious environment is a huge responsibility. Thanks to generous donations, we have now been able to reach almost 60,000 people living in the camp with aid.
Plan International has already constructed 400 toilets and has distributed thousands of hygiene kids to families living in the worst conditions imaginable.
We aim to construct 1000 latrines and 200 bathing spaces over the next year.
Work to reunite children with their families is urgently required and Plan International stands ready to support this effort and to set up child-friendly spaces.
We must ensure children living in these appalling conditions have the chance to play and just be kids.
For these people, the future is bleak. But we can all do something right now to help keep them safe and to reunite families.
You can support any of the wonderful Australian charities on the ground in Bangladesh, who have joined forces for a special joint appeal via the ABC.
And that’s something to truly feel good about this Christmas.
To help the Rohingya families stranded in this terrible situation go to www.abc.net.au/appeals, or alternatively donate to Plan’s projects in Cox’s Bazar www.plan.org.au/rohingyacrisis or call 13 75 26.