THE Andrews Government sacked the Geelong council on various grounds, including being dysfunctional and having a bullying culture.
A council and lord mayor elected by the people can be sacked by a whim of parliament. Is this democratic?
Come to think of it, why not return the power of veto to the people?
We could, like the Swiss, have mechanisms in place whereby steps can be taken to sack the local council and state governments if enough people wished that. Why not go the whole hog?
Why can't voters of Australia have at their disposal, veto mechanisms so they could initiate to have an incompetent state or federal government thrown out? Or even the High Court if it doesn't act in the national interest?
Instead of granting more power to our state and federal parliamentarians, let's return power to the people. After all, that's how a democracy is supposed to run isn't it?
- Alan Barron, Grovedale
THE Grattan Institute study into the planning and funding of infrastructure reported in The Courier ("Road Funding Politicised" April 5) was nicely juxtaposed in the paper's hard copy with an advertisement by the federal government (now in election mode) for the Western Highway upgrades.
Politicians are desperately trying to make mileage (no pun intended) out of the controversial, environmentally destructive roadworks. On the one hand, the study found serious deficiencies in proper accountability and transparency, and on the other, a public relations exercise tells obviously foolish voters what it wants us to think.
The wasteful spending of over $500 million on the upgrade of the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell is another case that seems to have evaded proper scrutiny.
Last year (August 6, 2015) The Courier reported on this waster in terms of its environmental failings, revealing the felling of 900 giant native trees in a VicRoads planning blunder overseen by former Planning Minister Matthew Guy, now Opposition leader. That focus was on the disturbing environmental catastrophe, but the benefit/cost analysis of just 50 cents in the dollar doesn't stack up well either for the section of roadworks currently underway (Beaufort to Ararat).
As well, the environmental effects statement* over-quoted traffic volumes by twice the actual numbers in this section, according to VicRoads' own recent figures**.
The Courier's online edition quotes the study's author: "I would expect the money to be spent in the cities as the key economic and population centres and where most of the population growth is occurring - and that's not what we're seeing."
Regional communities deserve safe and efficient roads too, but within reason and not at the expense of their best assets - fabulous, tourist-attracting high quality roadside vegetation. *2.2.2 environmental effects statement, average figure for whole highway, Melbourne to Adelaide misleadingly quoted (5500 vehicles per day) https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/~/media/files/documents/planning-and-projects/whp-ees-beaufort-to-ararat-section-2_chapter-02-_project-rationale.ashx?la=en ** Figures for Western Highway, various locations (W-Z tab). (Western Highway, Beaufort - 2,900 vehicles per day)https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/~/media/files/documents/traffic-and-road-use/trafficvolumeinfofeb2016.ashx?la=en
- Helen Lewers, Napoleons
WOW, $69,000 to be shared by six of our residential care sites. It would not pay for the sugar in their tea.
What about all of the day care centres providing care for hundreds?
Go back Sharon Knight and find the rest of the money for these wonderful sites.
- Gwen Archibald, Ballarat
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