A glimpse into a harsher world
To mark Refugee Week this year, my partner Gus and I just finished the Ration Challenge, during which we ate the same rations as Syrian refugees for a week. The challenge raised over $2.5 million for the more than 25 million refugees struggling to get by around the world. This diet consisted of rice and beans, and several of our meals were just plain rice.
It was a startlingly difficult week, with the hunger, headaches and monotony all taking a toll. It has been very humbling to realise just how spoilt for choice we are in the 'developed' world; Australia is one of the fattest nations on Earth because calorific food is so abundant here, while other people barely scrape by on a few bowls of plain rice every day. There have never been more refugees and displaced people in the world than there are now, and they exist because politicians refuse to help people in need. Additionally, hunger affects everyday Australians, with 3.6 million people experiencing food insecurity at some point every year.
Poverty and human displacement are a political choice, which here in Australia's democracy are made in our name by politicians who are too often out of touch with reality. Next year I think our politicians should undertake the Ration Challenge in the name of compassion. In empathising with the hungry, they would experience the lives of the powerless people their policy decisions create. #BringThemHere
Alice Barnes, Brown Hill
More carparks needed
The permit application for a 5 storey building in Grenville Street is to be considered by Council at its July meeting. Once again councillors will be asked to sacrifice sensible planning requirements at the altar of ‘development’. The application seeks a dispensation of 58 car spaces from the 78 required by the Ballarat Planning Scheme. Given that long term parking in the CBD is already greatly under stress, and will be further stretched by the changes to Mair Street, the Station complex and the Gov Hub development, this latest proposal simply adds to the problem.
Previous council approvals have often permitted reductions in parking requirements with little regard to the implications for the future. However this is a luxury which we can no longer afford. Another multi-storied car park is urgently required within the CBD.This is a cost which would be borne by the community – either through rates or by parking fees. Instead, Council should insist that developers cover the true costs of their proposals – by providing adequate parking on-site or paying to create alternative parking spaces near by.
Stuart Kelly, Ballarat
I’d like to complain about your newspaper’s incredibly narrow and slightly ridiculous focus on crime and the activity of the courts in Ballarat, with respect to your lead stories online. As people who are moving back to Ballarat after a long absence I believe this coverage gives the impression that Ballarat is a crime ridden cesspool. It is not, it’s a vibrant regional community that has a great deal to offer families and businesses.
Ballarat has great schools, affordable housing, no traffic, easy access to Melbourne, and great sporting and cultural opportunities for our kids. Your newspaper’s reliance on the clickbait of sensationalised crime stories and headlines demonstrates not only a lack of editorial responsibility, it does a great disservice to one of the country’s best regional centres.
Crime is no doubt an aspect of life in Ballarat, I think it is a small part and affects a small number of people. Your emphasis on these stories makes people unnecessarily fearful for their personal safety and has potential political consequences as state governments and oppositions focus increasingly on law and order as election issues.
Matthew Goss, Burwood