Lift your game, Bendigo - I'm completely perplexed that on the first weekend Melbournites can get out of the city after many months in lockdown to visit regional towns and are busting to spend money, so many eateries and businesses are shut in Bendigo.
Tourists are walking around with their kids and have limited options on where to shop and eat. Bendigo can't just rely on an art exhibition every 12 months and expect tourists to continue coming after it finishes.
Also the state of the mall is an absolute disgrace and embarrassing.
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It was pleasing to read the Peter MacCallum/Bendigo Health on-site partnership is to continue. On arrival in Bendigo in 1982, nurse Maryan Andrea - the parent of one of my many talented students - informed me of the fortnightly Peter Mac skin clinic in operation at the time at the Base Hospital where she was employed.
Little did I realise this nurse was the sole nurse assisting Peter Mac specialists arriving in Bendigo for the day; a day that saw them treating 30+ patients in the clinic. Also assisting back then were two Red Cross volunteers who organised all patient visitations, plus two radiologists, on hand to immediately treat patients referred by the radiation oncologists present.
In the early years of this century, a bunker was built at the then-Base Hospital to house a permanent Peter Mac radiation operation, headed by radiation oncologists Dr Michelle Bishop and Dr Patrick Bowden.
In 2005 when Dr Bowden commenced operation of his own skin clinic, I followed and this treatment continued under his successor Dr Wes Miles.
However, in early 2020, I required pressing surgery which, on the behest of my plastic surgeon, also required further attention at Peter Mac via a radiation oncologist. As a result, January this year saw me treated by dedicated radiation personnel and their wonderful support crew of nurses.
Today, as I write, I am fully aware I will require future Peter Mac treatment as those brutally honest words by my Mollison Street surgeon in 1986 have come to fruition: "Son, with skin like yours they (skin cancers) will pop up like mushrooms!".
It is with personal gratitude I say 'thank you' Peter Mac and all others who have helped me on my journey.
Findings from the NSW parliamentary inquiry into kangaroos have been released. It is largely transferable to the Victorian context, though we desperately need our own inquiry to expose the overinflated population counts here that show biologically impossible increases even after drought and catastrophic bushfires.
One finding that rings very true in Victoria is that 'the shooting of kangaroos has a profound impact on the mental health of some Aboriginal people, kangaroo carers and rescuers'. However, this falls far short of the impact on amenity, well-being and mental health of the broader community.
The kangaroo industry shows no consideration for people who love and value kangaroos, or for those who revere kangaroos as Totem. They don't care about residents' heartache, or how businesses which rely on kangaroos for tourist appeal suffer.
Families often form strong emotional bonds with their local kangaroos and must continually fight to protect them.
Meanwhile, wildlife volunteers give their heart, time and money to care and advocate for the wounded and orphaned. The constant stress of trying to defend beloved kangaroos results in anxiety, depression, hopelessness, grief, despair, trauma and insomnia for many in the community.
By supporting the grubby kangaroo industry, the Labor government shows disdain for Victorians who value animal welfare. This is a significant oversight given the government's own market research recently showed animal welfare is important to 98% of Victorians. The last thing we need is more demand for killing kangaroos from the proposed processing facility in Inglewood. This nightmare must end.
It is amazing what a climate change conference, and a coming federal election, can bring about.
After years of ignoring climate change and related scientific opinion, our federal government - having been for some considerable time aware of both a coming climate conference to be held in Glasgow in November and also a federal election due next year - has rushed through a plan concerning reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.
The plan, announced by our prime minister only days before the start of the climate conference, shows obvious signs of being rushed in its preparation.
The 2050 plan made it possible for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to have available some evidence of having taken action on climate change that he could then take to the climate conference, and, of course, be ready for the federal election next year.
The net zero greenhouse gases emissions plan contains minimal signs of new policy initiatives. It includes a rehash of previous federal government climate-related policies that have, to date, led to little action being taken to counter climate change.
Our prime minister has made it clear the 2050 plan will not be subject to legislation. Many people will find this disappointing but after giving this matter some thought it is perhaps a blessing in disguise because it may make it easier for future governments - it is 29 years to 2050 - to amend and improve the plan to give it a better chance of reaching its 2050 objectives.
Having recently discovered Australians are rightly concerned about an increasingly damaged climate, the Federal Coalition have decided they'd better take action.
Sadly, every announcement they make shows they either don't really believe in the science of climate change, or have no appreciation of the crisis humankind is facing.
The international community has not been fooled, with the COP26 conference in Glasgow rating Australia last in the world in terms of climate action. Yes, last.
Announcements about electric vehicles do nothing to make them more affordable. The absence of vehicle emissions standards (Australia stands alone among developed nations in this matter), means that clean, zero-emissions vehicles receive no market advantage over polluting, high-emissions vehicles.
The government's championing of unproven and costly Carbon Capture and Storage technology is motivated by a vain attempt to justify the continued exploitation and burning of fossil fuels. Far better not to burn them in the first place when we know renewables are the solution.
Does this letter feel angry? I hope so. The future of the world and its creatures hangs in the balance and becomes more at risk with each day of inaction. I love my children, and my grandchildren, and yes, I feel guilt and shame at the deeply damaged world we are handing on to them.
The price of housing is getting away from Victorian families at a quickening pace.
In Melbourne the average years to save a 20 per cent house deposit is 5.5. Housing affordability across regional Victoria has also reduced significantly in recent years.
Daniel Andrews and his government have in the past five years added 19 new taxes on property and development. More taxes on homes will not make them cheaper or more affordable. Yet, Treasurer Tim Pallas plans to slap another on new home development. It's called the Windfall Gains Tax, but it is really just a new tax that will make homes for families less affordable.
The Property Council, Urban Development Institute of Australia Victoria, Housing Industry Association and Master Builders Victoria collectively "remain gravely concerned about the significant impact of the WGT on Victorian families, jobs and investment. We believe it will result in higher housing costs for purchasers, higher overheads for businesses..."
UDIA Victoria modelling "shows that on the basis of just seven case studies, each project will be rendered unviable and will not proceed. This will reduce housing supply by 6696 dwellings, cost over 20,000 direct jobs and nearly 100,000 indirect jobs."
Money will be torn from the regions and sent to Melbourne under Labor's WGT. Regional Cities Victoria is concerned revenue raised from regional areas will not be redirected into these communities and wants local government exempted from paying WGT on the rezoning of land it owns.
Labor has some schemes that seek to help young people and families buy homes, but with $6.7 billion planned to be collected this financial year in stamp duty alone, these schemes are but a drop in the ocean of property taxes.
Daniel Andrews is pushing ahead with this shocker of a new tax. The Coalition will do its best to stop it.
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