Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

I shake my head in dis-belief every time I drive the Calder Freeway between Bendigo and Melbourne.

Vicroads are in the throes of erecting steel cable safety fencing on both sides of the centre median strip.

I fail to see how this flimsy fencing would prevent an out of control vehicle (especially a semi-trailer or B double) at speed, from careering onto the median strip or indeed the opposing direction lanes.

I call it " garroting wire" as I imagine that is exactly what it would do to a motorcyclist who has come to grief.

However my greatest concern comes from these cables preventing emergency exit. 

A few years ago when driving to Melbourne in my 4WD, all traffic was stopped near Malmsbury  because of a fast moving grassfire.

Listening to the transmissions on my UHF CB radio indicated that the fire had encroached upon the freeway. I (and most others) decided to escape by cutting across the median strip and heading back to safety.

With these new and pointless "safety" cable fences, trapped motorists will have no avenue of escape in similar circumstances.

Clearly Vicroads did not consider this situation as a distinct possibility in this bushfire-prone state of ours.

Chris Wurr, Kangaroo Flat

Room for improvement

Council’s Community Satisfaction Survey (CSS) overall performance index score in 2013 was 63 out of a possible 100. 

Recommendation 51 of the 2013 Independent Review concluded “….there is significant room for improvement …Council should actively seek opportunities for improvement, regardless of the perceived performance of other councils”.

The Review recommended council set satisfaction targets, implement appropriate plans and track progress annually.

Council officers dodged. Claimed their alternative approach, and work of a number of other recommendations, would produce better outcomes. Rubbish!

Council claimed the CEO would report results yearly, identify areas for improvement and recommend actions. This has not happened, and that says it all.

Documents show Council sets no CSS targets; it just records scores out of 100 for services like governance, and sealed roads.

How on earth do you motivate staff, measure performance, and be publicly accountable without a target?

Council’s score has slumped to 56. Does Council have little interest in residents’ judgements?

The problem is officers dominate. They aren’t fond of facing independent community scoreboard assessments. Most residents, especially the poor, never use council imposed fringe services which have exploded in recent years.

Recent CSS results confirm officers have a different set of priorities to everyday residents.

Councillors should ask why customers give Bendigo Bank a satisfaction score of 89, whilst Council scores 56.

Council received an ideas blueprint on how targets might be set and reached. But will councillors act to put everyday residents first, rather than officer and special interest group influences?

It is high time Councillors stepped up to the mark, set CSS targets, direct officers to meet those targets, and report to the community.

Michael McKenzie, Strathdale