• Loddon Herald

Fines, approach over top


Sir, I read with dismay (Loddon Herald December 9 and 16) that some small traders in Loddon Shire feel they have been shabbily treated by State Government officials who have fined a few traders for alleged COVID compliance breaches which, on reading the article in the Loddon Herald, appear minor indeed.

Unfortunately, as a country with three separate levels of government, and therefore, three levels of potential bureaucratic interference, I am unsurprised at the alleged heavy handedness of the inspectors.

One would have thought that the primary role of the inspectorate would be to aid and assist businesses to become compliant by exercising common sense and assistance to business owners in order to get them fully compliant.

An $1800 fine achieves nothing in stopping the spread of COVID however an empathetic approach to assisting with COVID plans may well have been useful in stopping the spread.

It is the entrepreneurs in our community who helped keep us sane through this on again, off again, on again demonstration of bureaucratic bungling throughout the pandemic, not petty officialdom flexing its muscles unnecessarily and destructively.

We need these risk takers to have a crack at growing a small business as it is they who will create the job opportunities, not a faceless official who thinks taking a risk and starting a business might just shake he/she too far from their comfort zone.

Be it a fish shop, a butcher, a garden centre or a supermarket or other business ,it is they who provide services and create the employment opportunities in small communities at little cost to the tax payer whereas our bureaucrats tend to dip into the public’s purse to do anything much at all.

Ideally I would eliminate one tier of government but that’s another story so in the meantime some common sense should prevail, fines should be waived and assistance offered to those small business owners that require help in developing useful, compliant and complete COVID plans.

Let’s help each other minimise the spread of COVID rather than seeing it as an opportunity to add a further impost on those having a go and we should do this for the well being of our economy and society.

Stephen Colbert


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