Home' Border Enterprise : Winter-Spring 2010 Contents 32 enterprise
l Vietnam veteran Mick Kramer wants to see
assistance for former service personel.
AWODONGA business was
forced to boost its security
after being hit by thieves twice
in as many weeks.
Mirra Steel Products lost two
trailers in the break-ins in April.
Owner Graham Barnes said the second trailer
had been worth about $4800, while the one stolen
just before Easter was valued at about $3200.
Each time, the thieves cut large holes in a
perimeter security fence to access the Queen
Street site and pull the trailers on to the road
and away from the scene.
Mr Barnes said the fencing repairs were
inconvenient, although the business was insured.
After the discovery of the second break-in,
Mr Barnes organised for workers to weld steel
l Graham Barnes looks on as steel bars are welded to a security fence.
CALL TO AID WAR
AVIETNAM War veteran from
Culcairn wants a taxpayer-
funded scheme set up to help
former combat troops establish
their own businesses.
Mick Kramer wrote to Veterans' Affairs Minister
Alan Griffin with his plan for a program, similar to
the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme which allows
the unemployed to access mentoring, training and
income support in return for creating a business.
"I am proposing that legislation be bought
into being which will allow a veteran of suitable
qualifications to be granted assistance in the
initial set-up of a small business to cover things
like the cost of the first year's advertising,
professional indemnity insurance, public liability
insurance, workers' compensation insurance
(and) lease of business premises for the first year
where appropriate," Mr Kramer wrote in
He added that such a scheme would
save the Department of Veterans' Affairs
costs involved in ex-servicemen receiving
psychiatric treatment, reduce pension
payments and boost income tax and "thereby
benefit the whole Federal Government".
Mr Kramer said many veterans suffered post
traumatic stress disorder and that made bosses
wary of hiring them.
"Employers learnt not to touch them with a
50-foot barge pole, that's basically what the
problem is, therefore if any employer reads
something on someone's CV about defence
service, that's as far as they read and in the bin
it goes," Mr Kramer said.
"I know that for a fact and that's the main
reason for this."
Mr Kramer, who served as a rifleman
in Vietnam with 1RAR in 1968-69, said
veterans needed a scheme to "lift their level of
qualifications" and "have a real challenge".
Mr Griffin acknowledged Mr Kramer's proposal
in a letter to the member for Farrer Sussan Ley
but his spokeswoman this week said it would
not be pursued because there were similar
State Government and industry programs and
it did not fall under the responsibility of the
Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Ms Ley has given Mr Kramer some hope it
may be picked up by the Liberal Party, saying
she had recommended it for consideration to
the Opposition's Veterans' Affairs spokeswoman
"It is a good idea and one which deserves
detailed examination, particularly if it is
supported by veterans' groups," Ms Ley wrote
in an email to Mr Kramer.
bars to the fence to prevent further trailers being
Mr Barnes said the upgrade had cost
about $1000 but was necessary after a very
"We're putting rails around the fence so they
can't get any trailers out," he said.
"We're also putting in video surveillance."
Mr Barnes said the cost of the repeat attacks
"It's starting to add up," he said.
Mr Barnes said he had not yet received a
quote for the closed-circuit security system but
he would not tolerate any further break-ins.
"You've got enough problems in small
business these days without getting that sort of
thing," he said.
Mr Barnes has been operating the business
since 2003 and said the recent thefts were the
first major episodes of crime in that time.
But he said a neighbouring business in the
industrial estate had been broken into last year.
Wodonga Detective Sen-Constable Justin
Schulze visited the scene and appealed for
anyone with information to come forward.
Wodonga police can be contacted on (02) 6049
2600 or via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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