Thank you for your article last week about the Rural Australians for Refugees Conference held over the weekend.
The conference was a great success and could not have happened without the support of local organisations including Rotary, Albury City Council, Amnesty, Catholic College Wodonga and of course the amazing efforts of the team of volunteers drawn from across the region.
Most importantly, though, the conference also showcased how this region, like many others in rural Australia, believes that supporting refugees to settle and contribute to our community strengthens and enriches us, and them. Of special interest was the workshop on rural resettlement featuring the mayors of Albury, Wodonga and Indigo Shires.
We were particularly grateful for the participation of local schools in the debating competition that culminated in a close-run final between two Albury schools. All of the students deserve thanks for their work and enthusiasm over many weeks. The winning school Scots, and the runner-up Albury High School, and their parents, can be very proud.
We had 350 people attend from five different states to hear from international speakers and to speak personally with members of Parliament, the UNHCR Representative to Australia, academics and of course scores of refugees who have settled in rural Australia.
The fact that this was the second time this region has hosted a RAR conference of such calibre is a reflection of the community spirit of welcome and compassion.
Marie Sellstrom, president Rural Australians for Refugees
Pick up your rubbish
I'm disgusted with the people who exercise their dogs at the Urana Road oval and don't pick up after them.
I always take two bags with me, one to pick up after my dog, if and or when she deposits, and the second to pick up after the “pigs” who leave litter on the ground, even though they are sometimes only metres from a bin.
Then there's the clever ones who stick their rubbish in the mesh of the fence behind the advertising signs.
I pick up the litter but I refuse to pick up after other people's dogs.
This is a great facility, take some pride in it and your surroundings and clean up after yourselves so everyone can enjoy.
Ron Van De Walle, Lavington
Some traders favoured
On Saturday April 14 Wodonga Council is holding a family fun day to celebrate the re-opening of the north end of High Street. The council is paying for $3000 of $5 vouchers which visitors can redeem at any of the food businesses.The council will then reimburse these businesses.
The council spokesperson's argument is that the food businesses attract business. So those who don't have food businesses can fairly guess what the council thinks of their contribution to the health of the CBD. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to know that one or more current food businesses in Junction Square are also set to benefit from this yet how were they effected during the construction?
This is a poorly conceived and discriminatory plan favouring some traders and clearly excluding others. It reflects a narrow view that eateries well patronised are the sole indicator of a strong retail and commercial CBD.