Letters to the Editor

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

I may be imagining things, but I detect what could be considered a sleight of hand going on at Ballarat Health Services with regard to taxpayer funding of mental health, and drug and alcohol dependency services in our community.

In Stawell Street, there is a valuable and much-needed 20 bed adult mental health rehabilitation community care unit known as "Eastern View"; a facility that has performed a fantastic job over the past few decades by way of psychosocial rehabilitation overseen by highly qualified and competent staff. I should know, being an ageing but still clear-minded credentialed mental health nurse myself.

But the place has been a tad quiet of late and it seems, that far from being in its usual fully occupied state, most of the beds are currently empty. Why, you may well ask? Could it be, perhaps, that this is not due to a lack of mentally unwell adults seeking professional rehabilitation back into fully independent living, but as an excuse to transfer it to drug and alcohol rehabilitation while utilising the same beds? This would be a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

It appears as if BHS is funding something new when it is, in fact, at the expense of another sector of society in just as much need.

I wonder if all the residents surrounding Eastern View, including all the elderly residents of Hemsley Park over the road, are aware of this.

There is no doubt that support for drug and alcohol dependence recovery is sorely needed, but not at the expense of another area of need which is just as vital. After all, BHS does have an existing drug and alcohol recovery facility. Why not use the funding to expand that, and leave Eastern View to do the job for which it was intended; rehabilitation of the mentally unwell.

Still, I suppose I could be imagining it all.

Hugh Irons, Bullarook

Not local enough

How pathetic is the local WIN News sports segment. On Saturday 8 April, the Ballarat Football League held its season opener with only one game being played. This was a match between Melton South and Melton played at the Melton South ground. There were thousands of spectators at the game to witness ex-Carlton champion, Brendan Fevola playing and coaching Melton South. He didn't let the crowd down, kicking five goals and winning in a thrilling match. However, there was no mention of this game on WIN TV news on Friday night before the game, and no mention again on Monday night after the game.

WIN TV should realise there are more football teams in and around Ballarat, besides North Ballarat, North City and the Greater Western Victorian Rebels. Is this what we can expect now as our local television station has moved to Wollongong, with our local news being read from there every night? Very poor that no mention of the start of the BFL season; one of the best country leagues in Victoria. Lift your game WIN TV, and start reporting on major sporting events in Ballarat and the viewing area.

The drawing power of Brendan Fevola in the Ballarat Football league is working wonders for local football but is the game getting enough coverage.

The drawing power of Brendan Fevola in the Ballarat Football league is working wonders for local football but is the game getting enough coverage.

Graham Pearce, Ballarat

A warning for the coming winter

Housing affordability is finally getting the political attention it deserves. But for all the Canberra talk of aggregator bonds and "innovative financing instruments", it's cold comfort for those not sure where they are going to sleep tonight. Nearly 40,000 Victorians who seek help from homelessness services are fleeing family violence. The responsibility to provide safe homes for women and children goes beyond politics.

With a tiny proportion of private rentals affordable to someone on a low income, it's no wonder we have families raising children in cars. We must tackle issues like tax benefits for property investors, as well as demand state and federal investment in public and social housing.