Letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

“Sometimes it’s not just about the numbers”
A couple of years ago our Council asked the community what they thought about replacing a busy round-a-bout in the centre of Horsham with a set of traffic lights.

A large, loud group of the community voiced their concerns. Issues of traffic flow, impact on the shops, and a chorus of “we don’t need more traffic lights” led the public debate.

However, there was a small, quiet group of the community who requested the lights to make it easier and safer for elderly people, people in gophers and wheelchairs and parents with young children, to cross this busy intersection.

The traffic lights have been a success.

Sometimes it’s not just about the numbers, but what is fair and reasonable for our community.

In your January LG Focus, Rod Brown referenced some recent commentary from ‘experts’ in relation to supporting Australia’s Regions; Mr John Daley, CEO of the Grattan Institute and Mr Terry Rawnsley, a principal at SGS Economics and Planning.

Some people, who simply look at the ‘numbers’ when making statements of how and where services should exist and funds spent, often (not all of the time) don’t understand life in rural and regional Australia.

Where people choose to work and live in 2019 is governed by many factors.  Technology with good NBN service is creating opportunities for small businesses with young families to migrate from the concrete jungle to live and experience a better life.

You know, the Wimmera Region is characterised by farmland. Our farming families grow a variety of crops including wheat, canola, barley, oats and chickpeas, and also raise livestock including sheep, cattle, dairy cows, goats and pigs. Ducks, turkeys and chickens are farmed; we have native flower farms, olive groves, vineyards and orchards. Horsham has a well-earned reputation in crops research.

Our produce feeds Australia and the world.

Why should the Australians who live and work in rural Australia be made to feel like second class citizens by some writers and commentators based on the fact that, put simply, there are not many of them. Is the business conducted somehow less important when the office space is a kitchen table instead of an air conditioned multi-story building with a view?

Our Wimmera councils work together well, petitioning governments for investment into the services that attract residents, particularly professionals. Our Wimmera Development Association, with Regional Development Victoria, works to attract new private business and investment to our region.

I grew up in Melbourne. Shifted to the Wimmera 29 years ago. It has been a wonderful location to run a small business and bring up our family.

Been a local Councillor for 10 years.

This is not a numbers game. This is about realising we are a big, wide brown land, with hard-working people dispersed throughout.

Our needs are similar but different to the city dwellers. I would encourage those who write off the Wimmera, with such insulting language as ‘palliative care’ in provocative sentences, to –  come and pay us a visit.

Councillor Mark Radford     
Mayor Horsham Regional City Council
‘It’s all happening in Horsham’