A Wendouree tree with a story to tell

Much joy benefiting from hard work

I would like to congratulate all those people that put in a lot of time putting up Christmas lights so families could enjoy going around looking at them during the lead up to Christmas. The ones that I seen all looked fantastic around different parts of the town so well done to those residents that spent many hours putting them up it's a credit to you all

Geoff Rundell, Ballarat

A tree with a story to tell

The tall dead tree on the south side of Lake Wendouree on St Patrick's Point. This tree is a bit of a mystery which some of your readers may be able to explain. Careful inspection can find no sign of cuts made by a stone or steel axe as are quite common on my family station near Donald in the Wimmera. These scars are all on the east side of these grey box trees, and measure six feet in height and three feet in width. Looking forward to hearing more from your readers.

Oliver Guthrie, Alfredton

Roads a sign of Spring Street neglect

Country Victorians don't need a website to tell us regional and rural roads have been seriously neglected by the Andrews Government. Labor recently announced a 'bold plan' for regional roads, but instead of spending money fixing country roads, Labor has spent money building a website and named it 'country roads'. The only 'bold' part of Labor's plan is its absolute determination to ignore the needs of our country communities. A website won't fill a pothole. And it doesn't fix dangerous road edges. Daniel Andrews is prepared to spend more than $1.3 billion not building a road in Melbourne, but he won't invest in fixing our country roads. Daniel Andrews is a Premier for Melbourne, not for all Victorians. At the next election, country Victorians will have a choice. More of Labor's neglect or a Liberal Nationals government that will bring spending back to country Victoria.

Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals, Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation

Other children are not enjoying the holidays

As families around Australia enjoy their holiday’s , we hope they take a moment to remember the children in Cox's Bazar, who have so little but somehow manage to create small moments of joy in even the most heartbreaking of circumstances. Most of the children arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Many of them are extremely traumatised from the perilous journey. Yet despite all they have endured, they still find a way to just be kids.The children craft toys out of junk they find around the camp: plastic bag kites, balloons on a string, little cars on strings fashioned out of plastic bottles. Christmas Day marks four months since the mass exodus from Myanmar. More than 625,000 Rohingya people have crossed the border into the Cox's Bazar camps since August 25. Of the new arrivals, 378,000 are children. As life in the camp becomes more stable and infrastructure around the camps improves, the laughter of children has started to return. Yet this is no place to raise a child. Conditions are unsanitary and disease outbreaks, including deadly cholera and diphtheria, have occurred. Unaccompanied and separated children continue to be at risk of early marriage, child labour and trafficking. As we mark four months and look ahead to the next 12 months of this crisis, Plan International's priority is to ensure children and adolescents are safe and protected. Plan International has already reached 60,000 people and is working to assist more than 250,000 Rohingya people with a particular focus on child protection, learning and safe and sanitary access to showers and toilets. To support this vital work, please consider donating to the appeal: https://planau.me/rohingyaresponse

Susanne Legena, Deputy CEO, Plan International Australia

Oliver Guthrie wants to know the mystery of the dead tree at St Patrick's Point on Lake Wendouree

Oliver Guthrie wants to know the mystery of the dead tree at St Patrick's Point on Lake Wendouree