At present there are hundreds of rural towns locked down across Victoria with people deprived of their social interactions and income.
Most of these towns have never had a single active case.
Some of them are hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest outbreak.
We have state border restrictions and the technology involved and with specific variations could easily be applied to the establishment of borders around individual country towns and Local Government Areas.
Children travelling on school buses could be provided with entry permits, as could others where necessary.
These town borders, regulations and entry permits could be established with local input rather than being totally imposed from city politicians and bureaucrats.
This model could also be cost-neutral for the taxpayer as well as providing better mental outcomes for the community, since the local economy and social fabric of country towns would be less affected than they currently are.
Local shops, schools, local sport, playgrounds and pre-schools would still function normally with the present necessary rules such as social distancing and wearing of masks.
If and when a country town has an active case of COVID-19, then it should be locked down, as is the present rule, without impinging on the freedoms and rights of the people in all of the regional towns across the state of Victoria.
It is a pity that city-centric politicians and bureaucrats cannot see that regional towns, which are already struggling, are being unnecessarily discriminated against through the current Victorian-wide regulations.
Adrian Sexton, Strathdale
Arts, history - Bendigo can do both
Has it really been Bendigo council policy for 20 years to deliberately downgrade history and heritage opportunities for the enjoyment of locals and tourists alike?
We all love our vibrant arts sector. However, there is a strong belief Bendigo can support a broad and diverse approach to cultural life that engages with and encourages involvement in our history and heritage.
Will the Bendigo council continue to discriminate against history and heritage in the next 20 years?
Euan McGillivray, North Bendigo
Make refugees feel welcome
Twenty years ago - on August 26 - in the northern Indian Ocean, the MV Tampa responded to a mayday call on behalf of a sinking vessel with 438 refugees on board.
This act of mercy sparked a stand-off with the Australian government, which refused permission for the Tampa to disembark the rescued people on Christmas Island.
With an election in the offing, Prime Minister John Howard chose to take a hard line on refugees, and set in train increasingly harsh policies that saw refugees vilified and their human rights denied.
The 'Pacific Solution,' a major component of these inhumane policies, saw thousands of refugees detained on Manus, Nauru, and in PNG, to the detriment of their physical and mental health.
It was no real solution, and no government since has had the political will - or imagination - to deal fairly with these desperate - and innocent - men and women.
Many leaders since have portrayed refugees as 'illegal' and undesirable people.
Some continue to play upon xenophobic, racist, and religious prejudices to justify their cruelty.
Refugees are people like us, with similar hopes and aspirations. Having fled their homelands in fear to escape war and persecution, they come to Australia seeking safety.
In gratitude, they work hard to make significant contributions to their new country. It's time that our nation acted decently, and made refugees welcome.
Ken Rookes, California Gully
A reality check
New South Wales is "glad-wrapped", Victoria is in its seventh lockdown, and the ACT, not surprisingly, has joined the list as well. Given the belief, and the perception that Australians are over lockdowns and doing it tough, just look at the situation in Afghanistan for a moment, and reflect just where you would rather be.
Yes, we are experiencing something that most Australians have never experienced before, not helped by the unforgivable inaction of precuring sufficient vaccines exacerbating our problems, but looking at the disastrous position of the people in Afghanistan, it does put our so-called "tough position" into reality.
Life the Australian way is difficult at the moment due to coronavirus lockdowns, but pales into insignificance compared to the struggles in Afghanistan.
All of us can look forward to our circumstances improving in the coming months.
That cannot be said of a country that has been subjected to upheaval for decades. All Australians can look forward to the future.
The people of Afghanistan's future will be much the same as their past - a daily battle to survive.
Ken Price, Eaglehawk
Rubbish dump anger
The large amount of rubbish in the corner of the Huntly Lions Park appears to be the remains left by those who were or are camping there. Once again ratepayers must pick up the cost of removal, as is normal when these people leave.
It is time council charged these people for rubbish dumping. I'm sure if I, or any other citizen did the same thing, the compliance officer would be on us like a tonne of bricks. Why are they not charged?
Robert Smallpage, Huntly
Volunteers deserve recognition
From reading the draft Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025, it is apparent while there is a lot of good thought and content in the plan, there is scant reference to the value of volunteering in our community.
Particularly in post-COVID times, volunteer groups and activities will be very powerful in re-connecting community members in many areas, particularly in regard to 'wellbeing'.
Volunteering has a long and proud history in Bendigo. Without volunteering, the city would not be the successful and vibrant place it is today. I am just one of thousands of volunteers who keep Bendigo a community people seek out. Our entire community 'wellbeing' is founded on the tens of thousands of hours volunteers contribute to the rich life of our city.
So please, have a look at the city's draft Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025 and highlight the valuable contribution volunteers make, both to the health and wellbeing of our community - especially after multiple COVID lockdowns. Thank you.
Paul Kirkpatrick, Spring Gully
Education system's shortfalls
Despite billions thrown at it via the Gonski report, our education system, captive to vested interests, achieved lower results.
Data shows Australian education standards plunged. Decline in reading is the worst among the top 16 nations - fourth in 2003, now 16th. Maths and science similarly weakened. It puts Australia's future at risk.
The problem must be addressed and action taken. The method of teaching and teacher-training needs improvement. The curriculum is overloaded. For many years, child enquiry-based learning was the fashion in most schools, with less teacher-directed instruction. This may explain the decline.
Can we learn from other countries? Countries that favour teacher-directed explicit instruction achieved higher results. Smarter Singapore created thousands of hi-tech start-up jobs and maintains respected social standards. Superior rankings in reading, maths and science explain China's achievements.
In core curriculum areas like Maths and English, it is important for the child to progressively learn and understand the subject's fundamental tenets. These need to be mastered through direct-teacher instruction before launching into enquiry learning.
Extraneous lobbied materials burden school curricula, and need to be ditched. Some of the demise can be traced to the quality of teacher intake. Singapore recruits teachers from the top 10 per cent of applicants. Our students, parents, teachers and nation deserve the best.
Michael McKenzie, Strathdale
Our Letter of the Week winner to receive a $30 Coles voucher is Paul Kirkpatrick from Spring Gully for his letter published today.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: