A tale of two states
The Border's soaring temperatures late last week saw a tale of two government-owned rail operators.
In the redshirts corner was V/Line, that after four years of mismanagement under Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan had the new minister Melissa Horne stand by while eight trains were cancelled in two days. In the blue corner was NSW TrainLink that continued to operate the XPTs between Albury and Southern Cross.
During the Thursday heatwave when Albury was at about 41.5 degrees, the XPT conveyed its many passengers down south and only lost a further 45 minutes in the process. Hats off to NSW for showing Victoria how to run trains reliably. No wonder when I've been on the XPT twice in recent weeks, it's been very well patronised, even outside school holidays.
Thank goodness Border residents have Bill Tilley to remind Victorian Labor that passengers prefer trains to road coaches. A few years ago, there was no one who worked harder to get V/Line trains back on the track than Bill Tilley.
Edmund Carew, Windsor
Communities need help
Recent flash flooding in the North East resulted in many properties and farms in our rural communities inundated with huge amounts of water and landholders now face a massive cleanup and recovery.
Properties in Tarrrawingee, Everton, Everton Upper, Eldorado, Byawatha, Boralma, Bowser, Boorhaman and surrounds received 100 to more than 200mm of rain, resulting in flash flooding that will take a long period and many resources to recover from.
I have called on the Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes to provide much needed funding for the farmers, households and communities who are facing a lengthy recovery.
Hundreds of kilometers of farm fencing needs to be repaired, machinery replaced and debris removed from properties while homeowners are facing significant clean-up costs.
I would ask anyone who requires assistance with flood recovery or insurance issues please contact me at my office at 15 Murphy St, Wangaratta on 5721 6155, or email email@example.com.
Tim McCurdy, member for Ovens Valley
Send them to jail
I don’t know why I am surprised anymore but yet I still find it hard to believe that there are people within our communities who go about setting fires on extremely dangerous weather days (‘Three fires lit in Wodonga during danger period’, The Border Mail, December 29).
To think of the damage that could have been done had emergency services not been so quick to act, I am not sure there is a more callous act. In a country like Australia, where we have seen the devastation that bush fires bring, the harshest punishment should be reserved for those who willingly put the property and lives of others in harm’s way.
It is absolutely mind-boggling that there are people out there who are prepared to set fires that might destroy a person’s home, rob them of all their possessions, possibly take their lives, and obviously put the lives of firefighters in danger too.
Anyone that is caught for starting these fires, regardless of whether the fire does the intended damage or not, should face a mandatory sentence of many, many years in prison.