Just sayin’…

January 3rd, 2024Just sayin’…

First of all, Happy New Year! It's 2024 already - and the years just keep rolling around. My lovely Nan told me once that time goes faster as you get older, and it's true. But getting older is also a privilege not open to everyone.

By Donna Kelly

First of all, Happy New Year! It’s 2024 already – and the years just keep rolling around. My lovely Nan told me once that time goes faster as you get older, and it’s true. But getting older is also a privilege not open to everyone.

So who’s complaining.

This edition came out on January 1 and, as usual, we decided on a retrospective edition with just a few of the stories we wanted to share again, including the sad loss of a couple of wonderful community stalwarts. Vale Harold and Serge.

Of course, you can’t cover everything and some things are best left in the past.

We mostly try to be a good news publication but it’s hard sometimes. You know what I mean. It’s not that we are not thinking about those situations but just not bringing them to the fore. I hope everyone is OK.

And I hope you have enjoyed the past year of editions of The Local – we love putting it all together and have a fantastic crew who do all the hard yards. Thanks to all of them for their work, commitment and, most of all, friendship and support.

Also thanks to our advertisers. I hope that you do support them. It is not because of us, but because of them, that you have a lovely free read each fortnight. Have a look through the pages each edition and if you can thank them by using their services it would be much appreciated.

Now, as I said most of this edition is looking back but we do have new adverts, check them out, and also a bit of a distressing story on the potential closure of the Hepburn Wildlife Shelter by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action. Or DEECA. Formerly DELWP.

If you check out our story on page 4 by journo Eve Lamb you will read that the departmental threats come after the shelter, that’s been operating for 22 years, has refused to reapply to renew its authorisation (or licence) due to the imposition of conditions which its operators say are “unrealistic, unreasonable and absurd”.

Those operators are Gayle Chappell and Jon Rowdon. Both very experienced and trained wildlife carers who have basically put their lives on hold for those 22 years and dedicated themselves to saving wildlife. Day in, day out, night in, night out, theytake in injured wildlife and nurse them back to health.

There is no funding. They are helped by amazing volunteers who wash and dry bedding, make up formulas, feed animals around the clock, provide compassion, raise funds and collect donations of
sheets and blankets and anything that could possibly help an animal in need.

As far as I know no injured animal has ever been knocked back. They all get the care, and love, that they need in the most stressful time of their lives. I remember seeing Jon in town during the 2009 bushfires and he looked exhausted. Fifteen years ago – and still they continue with their life’s work.

I don’t know what’s going on with the department, but surely the fix is a helping hand not a fist. Maybe some of the department’s cost to change its name could have gone to wildlife shelters. I don’t think an injured joey gives a stuff if the overriding wildlife body is DEECA or DELWP.

Hmmm. Maybe if the shelter is shut down we take any injured wildlife to the nearest DEECA office? And if it’s after five, perhaps we drop them off at a manager’s home for the night. I am sure they wouldn’t mind doing the 2am feed.

This is just bureaucracy gone mad. This is an essential service. You help not hinder. Gee, a thank you might even be nice as well, for 22 years of service to the community. Oh, stop the press, read page 4 about a fundraiser at the Hepburn Golf Club! It’s such a great cause. Just sayin’…

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