Mailbox: your say

Park path, why?

THROUGH your newspaper, I and many other ratepayers of Cohuna would like to know the reason for the construction of a new concrete footpath through our picturesque garden park.

As there is now a perfectly paved footpath leading to the same destination, to me it is a waste of ratepayers and/or grant money.

The removal of a magnificent old redgum tree to make way for the soundshell (how often will this be used) is another blemish on our park. Could it not have been moved forward approximately 10 metres. What else is planned for the park?

As a volunteer at the Gateway Information Centre, many visitors are very jealous of our green park with the Gunbower Creek running alongside with their redgum trees on the bank.

Geoff McGraw,

Cohuna.

Bird tourism potential

THIS spring, birdwatchers from all over Australia have visited the Kerang region.

A very rare bird from the northern hemisphere is at Lake Tutchewop and 'twitchers' are delighted. Visitors, some from as far away as Darwin and Brisbane, have arrived every day, with around 200 people buying fuel and food, staying in local accommodation and enjoyed the delights of the area.

Bird variety and numbers on these lakes are wonderful and could be a real tourist drawcard if properly marketed to Australian and overseas visitors.

All it needs is a little infrastructure, such as brochures and signage. Unfortunately, at Tutchewop,

it's hard to ignore the litter of shotgun cartridges and beer bottles left behind by duck shooters.

Bird tourism, not killing ducks, is the future for northern Victoria.

Debbie Lustig,

Elsternwick.

De facto decrease

OUR community was magnificent in supporting the local hospitals with the service crisis in pathology and acute care recently and the petition and letter writing to the Minister for Health via the Member for Rodney, Paul Weller led to questions in Parliament.

Paul put it to the Minister and disappointingly we have been side-stepped. The new Nationals candidate for our new Murray Plains electorate Mr Walsh has listened carefully and taken our request for funding to the Health Department.

The serene silence which has followed has clarified the fact that the Health Department has no intention of increasing our funding. In fact, as already stated, the much trumpeted $100,000 increase in funding was a de facto decrease in funding due to compulsory wages increases.

We have asked for some case mix funding for acute services and funding for more community nursing but are always told to get it from our over-stretched budget.

At the same time $120,000,000 is announced available to spruke health advice to rural communities. This is a duplication of services as we already have Northern District Community Health which can work with our hospital and in our community with its Federal funding. What a waste to have more people telling us how to live but no funding for the basics like a path. lab. to check your cholesterol.

There is more dedicated funding for drug programs and aboriginal health; many, many millions but nothing for a community-connected hospital with trained personnel to provide needed services to improve lives here.

We do not rate a mention but we need a $1,000,000 increase in funding to provide the basics locally.

Do we need to become a swinging seat to get care for our community? This is my request to all the candidates for the Murray Plains Electorate - are you going to help us remain viable? Will you ask the Health Department to fund us? Will you at least talk about providing natural gas to Leitchville and Cohuna so we have the same chance to attract industry as other towns in our electorate? Will you encourage usage of the factory at Leitchville with inducements like so many other areas have had?

I am sure Chinese investors would be interested if they had government support as they are interested in everything else. Will you help us attract tourists by funding the plans for our airfield or the golf club or the bush? If not, why should we support you?

I am asking any of you step up and talk to us or expect a backlash next week.

Dr Peter Barker,

Cohuna.

Wonderful tribute

LAST week, my brothers Martin Treacy, Len Grange and I had pleasure in attending the Remembrance Day ceremony and tree planting in recognition of the contribution of our mother, Sister Anne Grange, to the Gunbower community.

On behalf of us all, and our brother John in Canada, I wish to express sincere appreciation to Claire Dickinson, Elaine Brereton, Gunbower Primary School students and others involved in this wonderful tribute.

Mum would be truly honoured with this gesture in a town that has such a significant place in the life of our family.

Gunbower in those early post-war years was more isolated than it is today with the convenience of modern transport. When she arrived in 1948, the townsfolk welcomed Mum, as they had her sister Kitty a few years previously. She married our father Matt, settled to life in Australia and never looked to return to 'the old country', England.

Nursing was Mum's life and ministering to the health of the people of Gunbower was her pleasure. From the removal of fish hooks, to accidents, abrasions, chronic illness and the laying out of the deceased, she used her nursing skills as required.

Camilla Elliott [Grange],

Chirnside Park.

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