Home' The Murray Pioneer : January 20th 2017 Contents Saddened by local
AS a rate-paying member of
our community who has worked
closely with the director of cor-
porate and community services
at the District Council of Loxton
Waikerie on the Loxton recrea-
tion centre redevelopment pro-
ject, I was incredibly saddened
by his recent and unexpected
In this day and age when we
spend endless time and energy
educating our young people
regarding the negative outcomes
of bullying (to all parties), is this
person’s departure a result of
this type of behaviour?
Is any bullying yet another
damning chapter in the inex-
plicable division between two
vibrant and forward-thinking
Riverland towns, courtesy of an
elected member whose personal
agenda is in no way representa-
tive of the majority?
If this behaviour has escalated
and led to the point where the
impact has been the resignation
of an incredibly capable and
competent employee it would be
Eating baby animals
AUSTRALIA Day is meant “to
inspire national pride and spirit”.
It has nothing to do with eating
And yet Meat and Livestock
Australia (MLA) is trying to
cash in on the celebration with
buffoonish caricatures of ethnic
and cultural groups and a contro-
versial new ad that doesn’t even
mention Australia Day.
Instead, the ad implies that
people can somehow be united
by paying the MLA to kill lambs
and other baby animals.
They must be worried about
all the recent studies showing
that many Australians can no
longer stomach meat.
A University of Adelaide
survey found that 2l per cent of
Australians are reducing their
consumption of lamb, while the
number of vegetarians increased
by 20 per cent between 2009 and
A Roy Morgan poll found
that 99 per cent of Australians
oppose cruelty to animals, and
we know that animals who are
killed for food are electrocuted
or have a bolt shot into their
heads before being sliced open.
Flesh is bad for the human
body, too. Meat-eaters are more
likely to suffer from heart dis-
ease, diabetes, cancer and other
illnesses. And eating meat and
other animal-based foods is a
major contributor to climate
change and other environmental
This Australia Day, the only
babies on our plates should be
baby peas or baby corn—not
Special projects co-ordinator
Byron Bay, NSW
Who will make
Oz great again?
DONALD Trump was elected
largely on the strength of prom-
ising to “make America great
Probably no Australian leader
could say that and be taken seri-
ously. Pauline Hanson? But will
she ever assemble a team that
doesn’t promptly self-destruct?
Perhaps ex-prime minister
Tony Abbott had what it takes.
But will he get another chance?
Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews
and Barnaby Joyce have shown
they can cope with ministe-
rial responsibilities, but...
Cory Bernardi? Noel Pearson?
Bernard Gaynor? All long shots.
Anybody in the world of
sport setting a heroic example
to inspire the nation? Neither
David Warner nor Destanee
Aiava would probably want the
role. There should be somebody
suitable in the church.
If there is, we’ll probably
never hear of him/her.
Seems it’s up to us nobodies
to just live by what we know is
right and offer God our services
to at least help make our own
family and neighbourhood great.
Nichols Point, Victoria
Welfare cheats are
ripping off taxpayers
AUSTRALIA is fortunate to
have a strong social security
safety net to support those who
are down on their luck.
It is one of the defining fea-
tures of our society.
However, it is a disappointing
reality that some people abuse
the welfare system and get pay-
ments they are not entitled to.
Others may have inadvert-
ently not properly reported to
Centrelink and consequently
also received an overpayment.
When this occurs, the tax-
payers who support the welfare
system are ripped off.
The Federal Government is
doing everything it can to ensure
there is integrity in the welfare
system: that people get the wel-
fare payment they are entitled to
and no more and no less.
Our main method for doing
this is to compare the income
that a person self-reported to
Centrelink with the income
that the Tax Office says they
received. When there is a dis-
crepancy, we ask the recipient to
Given that people have typi-
cally received thousands of dol-
lars in welfare payments, I think
it is perfectly reasonable that
they take a bit of time, check
their records, and explain if there
is a discrepancy. If they cannot
explain it, then they will receive
a debt notice.
Hundreds of millions of
dollars has been recouped for
the taxpayer over many years
through this process. It is a
We are making improve-
ments to the system to make it
easier for people to explain a
discrepancy and give them more
opportunities to do so. We want
to make sure that we have valid
addresses. In recent weeks, there
has been a lot of media stories
about people who say they were
unfairly targeted under this
system. No one is sent an initial
unless there is a discrepancy that
has been identified between the
Centrelink self-reported data and
the Tax Office data.
We are identifying cases every
day where people have failed
to declare that they had a job or
under-reported their earnings
from that job, and are conse-
quently getting thousands of dol-
lars more welfare than they are
entitled to, but the Labor Party
is calling for us to stop asking
these people to explain.
If a person believes that
Centrelink got it wrong in their
calculations, they can ask for
a review and can supply new
information in the process. Even
after that, they can then appeal
to a tribunal. All these options
People who owe a debt to
the Government can enter into
a repayment plan, which can
be as little as $5 per week for
present recipients. The Labor
Party wants us to stop doing this
work. We will continue to refine
the system, but ensuring there
is integrity in welfare payments
(which constitutes a third of the
federal budget) is core business
that will continue.
Minister for Human Services
Wantirna South, Victoria
Before you publish
TONY Abbott’s recent dog
whistles and wedge politics
about Israel and Palestine do not
deserve the media coverage they
An apparently quick learner
of dirty tricks, Abbott demon-
strates his willingness to adopt
Trumpian tactics to disrupt and
disturb, to malign and mislead.
Why does the media waste
our time and their resources to
publish unfounded rumours and
If such comments from Abbott
must be published, they belong
on page-last, in 4-point font, and
Responsible media would not
repeat unsupported statements;
if published, responsible media
would identify such sound bites
as exactly what they are – entire-
ly unsubstantiated attempts to
Australian media must
increase responsible reporting,
or we’ll have an Australian
equivalent of America’s
THINGS really started to unravel for
Riverland wine grape growers in early 2005,
around the time when McGuigan Simeon
first ruffled feathers across the region.
The Loxton-based winery announced
significant cuts to prices paid for several
varieties, while also declining to take
thousands of tonnes of uncontracted
For many growers, it’s been all downhill
since then, as a comparison of prices
Back then, McGuigan Simeon slashed
its chardonnay prices from $850 a tonne to
$600 per tonne, while shiraz was fetching
around $450 a tonne.
This week, growers are appreciative of
modest price increases for the 2017 vintage
that will see them receive around $310 per
tonne for chardonnay and around $400 per
tonne for high-volume red wine varieties.
Oversupply, including the influence of
managed investment schemes, was soon
identified as the chief reason behind the
plummeting prices, accurately described in
recent years as ‘unsustainable’.
What a battle it’s been for Riverland
growers over the past 10 or 15 years, mainly
of the uphill variety.
The scenario became increasingly dire as
each year passed, with very little light at the
end of the tunnel.
Growers’ incomes continued to drop,
while many of their costs increased.
Imagine if your weekly pay packet
contained 20 or 30 per cent less now than in
Remaining growers – known as ‘ongoers’
have displayed remarkable persistence and
stoicism to hang in there.
The 2017 vintage prices offer some
respite, and hopefully herald a return to
more realistic returns next year and beyond.
Growers fortunate enough to miss the
November storm now only need negotiate
the threat of powdery mildew and other
weather-related events before harvest.
Given the industry’s importance to the
region, all Riverlanders are hoping the
journey is relatively smooth.
The bloke who was caught
speeding (‘47km/h over speed
limit in a local street’, Pioneer,
17/1/17) was most likely one
of several who drive like that in
In Loxton hoons drive around the
streets in cars or on a motorbike
at night. It’s a wonder no one
has been injured. Every now and
again backyard fireworks are let
Has it been long enough now
to say something about the
Renmark Paringa Christmas
Pageant? I understand how
much work was put into it by
organisers and those who put
floats in the parade. And I’m
not putting these people down,
because at least they put their
hands up to do some volunteer
work for the community. But
having it on a Saturday is a bad
idea, in my opinion. I was there
and the crowd was down on
other years. Half of the reason
why pageant night has worked in
the past is because it happens
immediately after work on a
Friday night, so everyone at
work, or in town, hangs around
and helps make it a great night.
Hopefully it moves back to Friday
night. I think many people would
agree with me?
I saw two people on the river last
week and happened to see their
yabby catch. They must have
had 600 yabbies – well over
the limit. Come on, Riverland,
play by the rules and make sure
there are enough yabbies for
Boiling yabbies alive (Text Line,
13/1/17) We used to do a lot
worse to them when we were
If you work in a local
supermarket, and you’d
rather have a conversation
with your workmates than
serve customers... maybe you
shouldn’t be working there?
What about giving the customer
your full attention, or at least
some of it?
started in 2005
The Murray Pioneer Pty Ltd (ACN 007 871 007)
78 Ral Ral Avenue, Renmark 5341,
PO 832 Renmark 5341
Phone: 8586 8000 Fax: 8586 4333
Editor: Paul Mitchell
Monday to Friday 8.30am-5pm
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
20 years January 17. 1997
REGION DRUG CAPITAL OF SA:
Riverland police warned this week that the
drug amphetamine is being manufactured,
sold and used in the Riverland, and drug
dealers are targeting the region’s youth.
Det Sgt. Graeme Adcock of the Riverland
CIB said the availability of amphetamine
was widespread and could be found at
popular night spots in the region.
PO Box 832, Renmark, SA, 5341
(08) 8586 8000
0448 629 186
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The editor reserves the right to edit all letters.
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