This Friday the 15th December 2017, will be a momentous day in Australia's history. On this day the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse, established 5 years ago under the Gillard Labor Government, will release its report. The recommendations will reveal evidence from the amazingly strong men and women who have survived horrendous abuse at the hands of their "evil perpetrators", their families, supporters, witnesses and those brave individuals who spoke out about what occurred in these institutions. This must have been and undoubtedly remains an amazingly long and difficult ordeal. That this abuse occurred can no longer be denied. The extent is overwhelming and I will always be horrified and sickened that it occurred in my community and in my lifetime. Ballarat has been over represented in the number of cases, resulting suicides and therefore it has had a heightened impact on our citizens. What occurs after Friday is vital. Australia's legislatures must respond quickly, enact laws, implement structures and devise strategies to protect our children moving forward.
Communities, such as ours, will take a long time to renew their faith in the institutions involved. "Inaction", in Julia Gillard's words, is no longer appropriate. These crimes have affected all of us to differing degrees and until major changes are made and reparation is offered, the opportunity to heal, as a society cannot begin. The pressure must be kept up until we can.
Alice Christie, Ballarat East
Vital summer assets gone
After the Ballarat City Council swiftly shut down and demolished the Wendouree Dowling Street swimming pool site in 2013, it is clear the city is not very interested in supporting aquatic recreation resources for swimmers. That the Brown Hill community had to rally together to stop the council from shutting its pool was a credit to those who know how important a local pool is to children, families and the community
. The Eureka swimming pool has also been neglected and allowed to deteriorate over the years. As Ballarat swelters, there is only one or two small outdoor pools operating. This is just not good enough. Essential public infrastructure is often run at a loss; public transport for instance. Wendouree lost a vital summer community asset. Swimming pools are expensive to operate and maintain but the financial losses are offset by the benefits for children, families and the community who have the enjoyment of a local outdoor pool over summer. The Ballarat East community needs to insist that the city council maintains and cares for the Eureka pool, year round, to ensure full operation at the start of every summer.
Sue Dean, Lake Wendouree
A future city better with less cars
My Joshua Morris, MP, I cannot say that you have been very prominent since your election to state parliament, but I must acknowledge receipt of your leaflet seeking my opinion of proposed changes to Sturt Street intersections and the construction of a "bright orange" bicycle path. Regrettably, the leaflet is thoroughly misleading.
VicRoads and The Courier have explained that the changes are motivated by concern over traffic flow, accident rates and pedestrian safety but your leaflet conveys the impression that the bike path is the sole motivation.
Accordingly I support the changes and the path, its jaunty hue notwithstanding, and I say that failure to construct the path would be a missed opportunity if north/south traffic were to be blocked anyway. Your devious little poll is invalid but at least it will help you to gauge the number of political troglodytes among your constituents and to ingratiate yourself with them. If you truly want to do something for Sturt Street, how about tackling the hoon problem (Sturt St or drag strip?, Courier 22/10)?
It is a major headache for local people, an affront to visitors and surely one reason for Ballarat's somewhat seedy reputation in the wider world. How about approaching the police and asking them to pull over those vehicles which are far too noisy to be roadworthy? A quieter and more congenial city would be a far better thing than a thwarted bike path.
Andrew Hackett, Ballarat