Letters to the editor

March 01, 2017

Poisoning heartbreaking

I have tears in my eyes at 86 years-old.

Why would anybody poison 13 beautiful English oak trees?

They’re on Green Rd, some are 20-feet high, but they have missed five.

I went to Melbourne in 1986 to the Botanical Gardens and picked up lots of acorns under different oak trees and brought them back to Benalla.

I planted them at Banfield Park in the oak valley and the acorns that were left over I planted in Green Rd.

— Trevor Banfield, Benalla.

Virus is in Benalla

Thank you for your extensive articles during the past two weeks drawing attention to the prevalence of Ross River Virus in Benalla.

With 32 cases already notified this year ( update February 21) and only a handful in total over the past three years, the virus is certainly on the rise.

Jenny Pallpratt’s personal account in the Ensign last week was very familiar to me.

I began my new year with sore feet that I thought was a result of too much golf.

By the morning of January 2, I was in A&E with joints, ligaments and muscles in my feet so sore I was unable to walk.

Bilateral pain soon spread to wrists, knees, hips and shoulders... truly the feeling of being hit by a truck.

I also had a rash for a couple of days, but this could easily have been missed.

With all this comes extreme fatigue.

The simplest of jobs is a great effort, not to mention the inability to turn a doorknob or lift a kettle.

To add to my personal account, my husband was also diagnosed with Ross River Virus in January.

His symptoms were a little different with less joint pain, but more headaches, dizziness and fatigue.

Thank goodness for supportive friends and family.

I have no recollection of being bitten, but had not travelled out of Benalla during the window of the three to 21 days the virus takes to incubate.

The first question everyone asked was ‘‘Were you camping up the river?’’

No... Ross River Virus is in Benalla.

The infection is spread by mosquitoes from infected animals, usually marsupials, such as kangaroos and wallabies.

These reservoir hosts are certainly around the outskirts of Benalla, but the mosquitoes can travel a reasonable distance, so I urge everyone to take care and wear a good insect repellent that contains DEET.

In the meantime, as mentioned in previous articles, if you are unlucky enough to be infected I would always visit your GP for prescribed anti-inflammatories and pain killers.

There is no cure, but the greatest relief for me has come from many hours in the hydrotherapy pool at the Benalla Aquatic Centre.

The symptoms are rather prolonged, but I look forward to recovery in another month or more... and a better start to 2018!

— Sue Oakley, Benalla

Solar panels exciting

We should all applaud John Lloyd and the Benalla Sustainable Future Group for their submission to Benalla council for solar-panel installation.

As we witness and experience the effects of global warming caused by the rising levels of greenhouse gasses, the idea of solar panels is timely and considerate.

The future of solar panels is exciting as new technology, e.g. battery storage, will result in a more reliable and cheaper product.

Benalla now has an opportunity to actively participate in the global push for a sustainable future.

— K. Murphy

Hear another viewpoint

Young people, such as those shown in the Ensign article of February 22 and who were inspired by environmental activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, deserve to hear a contrary view about political activism. (Politics; meaning beliefs/ideology related to social persuasion and power.)

In order to test your position on the political compass go to and take the quiz. You can also compare yourself to certain famous people.

No matter how passionate and convinced you may be about your politics, about half of the population will disagree with you.

While it is okay to have a political viewpoint, the problem lies with trying to persuade others that their politics are wrong or their actions inadequate.

This is illustrated by an old rule: ‘‘In the army there is to be no talk of sex, politics or religion’’.

These subjects are essentially private, unless you happen to be a politician or cleric, and to be shared mainly among partners, friends and family.

‘‘Saving the planet’’ sounds very important and convincing and our acolytes, while sincere, should know that there are darker forces beneath that virtuous slogan.

The largely untested idealism and energy of youth is being harnessed for what is a reminder of the zealous religious missionaries of the past who imposed their beliefs onto others, notably the so-called ‘‘ignorant savages’’.

Is activism about education or the imposition of beliefs/politics?

To educate is to ‘‘lead out’’, which means to aid a person’s learning, whereas the confrontational demands, often demonstrated by activists, are more likely to produce equal and opposite resistance.

Our society has government, defence forces, the police and legal systems to deal with security, bad behaviour, moral and injustice issues and the environment.

My questions to the would-be-activist are these: What is it that causes a society to evolve, for better or for worse? And; Do you really KNOW FOR CERTAIN that our society and its people will experience no changes for the better without activism?

Some of the options that we have other than activism are: to take full responsibility for ourselves and to do our best within our own small sphere of social influence and activities.

Also, apply scepticism to all man-made beliefs and have the courage to stand on our own feet aside from peer pressure.

Humans tend to overate their importance in the grand scheme of things.

— Mike D. Larkin, Tatong

Bills introduced

Last week three Bills were introduced to the Victorian Parliament that may be of interest to Euroa electorate residents.

Of great interest to all Victorians is the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017, which proposes a $2 tax on all taxi and Uber rides.

The Liberal Nationals have long argued that anything that makes transport more expensive for Victorians is not a good outcome.

Victorians are already struggling with cost-of-living pressures and another new tax will make life even tougher for many, particularly in regional areas and for elderly Victorians who use taxis to get to and from medical appointments.

The Liberals and Nationals have immediately sought an amendment to allow proper consultation with the community, taxis and rideshare services and the tourism industry regarding this tax.

Other bills introduced this week were:

●Jury Directions and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2017; and

●Education and Care Services National Law Amendment Bill 2017.

More information on the proposed Bills can be found at

Please contact my office if you need help accessing this information.

— Steph Ryan, Member for Euroa, Deputy Leader of The Nationals

Get into the groove

On Saturday, February 18, White Night Melbourne transformed the CBD into a wonderful world filled with vivid colour, music, dance and a big sense of community.

And down on Collins St, the Swing City dance marathon really got people’s hearts pumping.

The Tango, Jive, Fox Trot and almost every social dance were on show for a night of fun, friends and movement on the dance floor.

All night, crowds were taught how to bust a move, showing once again that dance is great way to get together and get moving.

Whether it’s through dance, circus, or new technology, the arts are such a fantastic way to get active and meet new people.

That’s why VicHealth is supporting a whole range of events in February and March to do just that.

Kicking off with White Night Melbourne, Swing City is now making its way to the Miners Exchange Building as part of White Night Ballarat on Saturday, March 4, for another family-friendly all-night dance marathon.

The fun continues on Sunday, March 12, at the Arts Centre Melbourne with Fun Run — an afternoon jam-packed with amazing stage performances, music, dancing, lights, gold lycra and more.

It’s an amazing community spectacle that pushes one man to the limits of his endurance, while the rest of us cheer and bust a groove in support.

Art can be fabulous mix of beauty, fun and physicality that takes so many different forms.

So find an activity you love, make new friends and enjoy all the health and wellbeing benefits active arts can offer.

— Jerril Rechter, VicHealth chief executive

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