Rural rates wreak hardship

Rural rates wreak hardship

I would be grateful for space in your newspaper to put some facts before your readers.

There are a large number of RLPB (Rural Land Protection Board) ratepayers, in all the forty eight boards, very dissatisfied with escalating rates, who after years of drought, (and rates will soon be due again) can only pay them by increasing their overdraft.

There are many of us who believe that RLP Boards should be absorbed into the DPI and the TSRs, mostly Crown Land for which the government pays no maintenance or council rates, should be handed back to the Crown.

Boards are a duplication of services that are under the responsibility of the DPI. Both under the authority of the same Minister.

Get your phone book and check under Primary Industries Department and then the Rural Lands Protection Board and you will see the proof. Who pays for this dual bureaucracy? You, the landowner.

Why should NSW landowners be forced to pay this extra tax by way of their rates, that no landowner in any other state or territory is required to do.

Clearly rates in NSW are an excise imposed on the first step of production, (the occupation of productive land). Under section 90 of the Australian Constitution this should be illegal.

Rigid control by the RLPB Act makes a mockery of democracy. No director, elected or appointed, is able to do anything about notional carrying capacity as opposed to actual carrying capacity, which in our case resulted in a positive overcharge of $600 last year.

If you agree this is an unfair situation, I urge all ratepayers to contact their local member or wannabe member, the DPI Minister or the wannabe Minister and or the Premier or wannabe Premier, well before the State election in March. This is our democratic right, which, sadly, most of us just take for granted and rarely use.

This is not a criticism of those who work for the RLPBs, but rather of the bureaucracy that allows this situation to exist.

Thank you for reading this letter, and hopefully doing something about this anomaly and to the editor who published it.

Dawn Welsh


Environmental irony

So theres John Howards commitment to the environment for you, plain and clear. Appoint a millionaire merchant banker with only two years parliamentary experience as the new Environment & Water Resources Minister. What a joke. Unfortunately, the joke is on us.

Andy Gough

Greens NSW candidate for Lismore

Hope for Change

Its a sad fact of life that somebody has to die on the road before any action is taken to deal with speeders. This will probably be the case here in Keen Street, on the road to Gundarimba as well. I just hope its not going to be that nice couple who ride their bicycles to town who will be run down. They are only trying to do their bit to slow global warming. I hope its not any of my neighbours on the hill. They have had enough tragedy in their lives and they dont deserve any more. I hope its not the little kid down the road who rides to school. If one of these speeding trucks runs over him, he will surely be a gonner. I hope it wont be the next-door neighbours kids, they enjoy life so much. It would be a shame if they were killed by inconsidered speeders. I just hope two serial speeders will crash into each other on the blind bend down the road, this will solve all our problems. Until then I will just have to live in hope.

PS: Thanks to all those mechanics who are now driving a lot slower, you have made this part of Lismore a safer and saner place to live.

Bill Buckley


Techno vandalism

As a member of the entertainment industry over a number of years I applaud new industry initiatives.

However, the increasing popularity of rurally-based doof, or rave parties raises a number of concerns with regards to the environment.

For the uninitiated, the traditional North Coast doof party is set up in the midst of the countryside, often in forests. Music systems set up for these parties are extraordinarily loud and last all night, sometimes lasting for a couple of days non-stop.

While those in attendance might see themselves as environmentally conscious in all other fields, their participation in these events must call this into question. The extreme volume of the events alone are an appalling assault on the regions wildlife. Doof music is so loud that it is alleged that a woman at a recent doof party miscarried on the dance-floor. The reason being offered was that the extremely loud repetitious bass beat was impacting upon her fluid sac. This fluid does not compress, therefore it was the unborn baby that suffered the repetitive concussions of the bass notes.

As we are all aware there are numerous species in the wild whose very existence is being threatened by the encroachment of humans into their habitat.

First, let us consider those animals who lay eggs, such as birds, platypus, etc. Should any of these animals be nesting anywhere near the tree-shaking noise of a doof party one can only suggest that the survival of any nesting eggs will be threatened. The success of breeding animals, human or otherwise, depends upon successfully achieving live births. One can only wonder just how many egg embryos of wild animals have been damaged and sterilized as a result of the extreme pounding of doof parties that have suddenly landed in their (hopefully) otherwise pristine neighborhoods.

Additionally those species whose mating seasons are irregular (some occur only once a year) are potentially traumatized by the sudden arrival of the extremely loud music associated with doof parties.

It is not a great leap of logic to understand that many of these animals may, through disorientation and noise-related trauma, fail to achieve successful mating.

Hardly a recipe for continuation of the species.

Then we come to the environmental impact of several hundred (and now reports of doofs attended by a couple of thousand) party-goers. Are we really going to turn a blind eye to the potential that these people have upon the breeding grounds of the numerous endangered indigenous species that populate our region?

It is time for those involved with doof parties to own up to the environmental vandalism that they have unconsciously encouraged.

It is all very well (and commendable) to call for environmental impact statements when land developers are moving into the region, but what of the so-called environmentalists who set-up and attend doof parties.

The hypocrisy is stunning in its level of self-indulgence.

The parties are given very cool names, evoking images of forests and biblical holiness, but the reality of their practice is far more sinister when considering the damage that they are doing to the world environment.

When the noise that is made is shaking trees that are over 1000 metres away from the speakers then surely it must be obvious that this can not be good for the environment, let alone the impact of the actions of the semi-conscious over-tired ravers.

Shame on all of you. You are part of the problem not the solution.

John McPherson


Patriotism gone astray

Our flag has now been so mis-used by politicians in their quest to appeal to voters, manipulating their discontent into racism, that an awkward decision has had to be made by the organisers of Sydneys Big Day Out. They have banned the flag being carried into a gathering of thousands of people where violence and aggression can quickly turn a thronging mass into a nightmare.

In this age of internationalism, values of patriotism involving bigotry, are downright dangerous. A rendering of the truthful historical evolution of humanity has never been more sorely needed.

Was it not Pauline Hanson who started the new Australian fashion of wrapping oneself in the flag? Patriotism and racism are the dual edge of the wedge that divides us from our fellow human beings.

John Howard and the Liberal Party have grown fat on the prejudices stirred up by Pauline Hanson and the One Nation Party. They have cunningly patronized the deep hurt and hopelessness of the working class while aiding and abetting the corporate takeover of Australia.

I spent a train ride between Sydney and Lismore sitting next to one of Pauline Hansons most staunch supporters. A year or two later she was frequently seen on television with Pauline as her minder.

This woman was upset by the changes Australia was going through that were destroying its egalitarian nature, leaving the once strong working class in tatters. Starting with the Eureka Stockade, Australia was once one of the most advanced countries in the world advocating workers rights and reversing the tyranny of exploitation inherited from Britain.

Our unresolved racism is what brought Pauline Hanson and party undone as it is now destroying the once happy camaraderie of Australia. In those long hours I gave her an overview of world history explaining in detail movements, ages, epochs and how we are all cosmopolitan in reality as we have absorbed many cultures along our evolutionary path, and she thanked me for it.

Lack of education in important subjects such as history and philosophy is a pronounced problem in Australia these days and we are becoming a racist, bigoted backwater unable to enjoy the cultural fruits of our multi-racial nation.

Gough Whitlam had the right idea in giving people a free university education. That is part of how you create a civil society.

Lynne Oldfield


Doomsday clock to sound alarm

The keepers of the Doomsday Clock plan to move its hands forward next Wednesday to reflect what they call worsening nuclear and climate threats to the world.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have just declared a Second Nuclear Age marked by grave threats, including: nuclear ambitions in Iran and North Korea, unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere, the continuing launch-ready status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the US and Russia, escalating terrorism, and new pressure from climate change for expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks.

Senator Ian Campbell the (former) Federal Environment Minister has announced that Australia must mine and sell as much uranium as we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power is now being trotted out as the answer to global warming.

How ignorant are we humans as a species? We have developed viable solar, wind, micro-hydro and geothermal options that are safe, clean and viable in generating all our base load electricity needs. In Australia, when combined with our natural gas resources and energy conservation, renewable energy can immediately reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet we want to flog our uranium around the world to China, India and whoever we claim are responsible users in this unstable and ever shifting global balance of power. All in the guise of saving the planet from climate destruction, when more honestly its to make big bucks for the economy. Most of which will end up benefitting the big miners such as BHP Billiton, and very little will trickle down to us readers.

Ian Campbell claims not opening up more uranium mines in Australia is totally obscene in a world that is so challenged by the prospect of dangerous climate change. It is equally obscene to be not pouring some of the massive budget surplus into development of renewables, to be slashing our rebates for solar hot water systems, to not sign up for Kyoto, to push for eight per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions when other developed nations bite the bullet with eight per cent reduction targets.

It is much more obscene in my opinion to ignore the real emissions costs of the nuclear fuel cycle. Those diggers, tippers, millers and transport vehicles all guzzle fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow. How obscene is the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste lying around the planet with not one long-term storage site developed in fifty years of the nuclear power industry?

How obscene is the lack of media coverage on the deformed children born in Iraq and Kosovo and to families of soldiers back home in the US and Australia? Depleted Uranium weapons vaporising radioactivity into fine dust to be blown around these countries and further across borders to trash our environment for billions of years. How obscene is that? And Australias part in it? The US is our biggest customer for uranium, some of which ends up in DU weapons.

Michael Gardiner

East Ballina

Precious memories

To the Eltham Railway Cottage,

Hi! My name is Myra. I do hope you still remember me, because I still remember you well. We never had the privilege of living with you but we did have the privilege of visiting you numerous times, as other kids from the village did Im sure you must remember the other house that used to live beside you. It was on the property of the late George Pearson (my grandfather) who bought the farm from people by the name of Walmsley.

That house was made of cedar timber and my grandfather had it pulled up the hill (towards Clunes) and it was erected on the first corner just at the top of the hill, a short distance across the paddock from his big homestead over-looking Eltham Village. That house became the home of my parents, Rita Pearson aged 89, now living in Ballina, and the late Raymond Pearson. We were a family of seven, 4 girls and a boy.

I can remember that young boy Neil Anderson who used to live with you coming up to our farm with a billy can to get milk. Because I was very young and shy when I saw him I used to run and hide behind the barn or the tree nearby until he left. I have been told that the only family who can be remembered living with you before the Andersons were people by the name of Dunne. Then after those two a family by the name of Bowman moved in with you, Harry, Alice, their two daughters Betty and Maureen and a son Roy. This is the family I remember because they were still living there when I turned 15 and came into Lismore to work. It was after they moved in that we started visiting you.

You must remember one special occasion when there was a Debutante and a miniature Debutante Ball in the Eltham Hall in 1952. We all had our photo taken in your lounge room in front of a big curtain. You must have been very excited having all those young ladies and little girls in their beautiful floor-length dresses with pretty lace and ribbons and beautiful bouquets of flowers being photographed in your house. I know we were. Can you also remember a group of kids who used to stand on the road on the rail lines at times when the goods trains were coming along the line to or from Lismore? Ill bet you do because you were watching us, werent you? We werent in any danger though. We used to stand and laugh and wave our arms at the engine driver as he came along, but ran off the track back onto the road before the train got too close and the engine driver used to laugh and wave back to us. There were times when he would be right beside us, then toot the whistle very loud to give us a fright, and on those occasions (after he saw us jump back with fright) he would laugh like mad and wave and toot the whistle a few more times (cheeky man). You must also remember seeing our mother with the five of us kids hurrying down the hill in the morning time to catch the passenger train into Lismore. She had the two youngest, my sister Betty and our brother Lloyd, in a stroller, then Sadie our elder sister and other sister Dawn moving down the hill as fast as we could to get to the station. That train driver all those years back was a very kind man because he used to toot the whistle at Laureldale right out the flat from the station as a signal for our mother that he was coming. Sometimes he would slow down almost to snails pace to give us all time to get up onto the platform.

When the train stopped, the guard and other people used to get off the train and help us all get on board safely. What very kind people they all were. That was way back in the 1940s and early 1950s. It was a very sad time when our parents had to sell the farm due to illness because we all loved living at Eltham and we all used to take our kids for weekends and holidays to the farm. I have only been back to the farm once and became very sad, but I hope to come and visit in the near future, little cottage.

I must say bye for now, but will remind you first of the names of other families who used to live with you: the ones I do know (but not necessarily in order). After the Bowman family there were Hennesys, Demaures, Thelma Fields, and two others I dont recall, but I have been told that a young man by the name of Craig was the last person to live with you. If this information is incorrect I hope some person will write to you with the correct information because I really would like you to know. Last of all I do hope the people at Eltham who are trying to save you succeed, and good luck to you all. I have some photos of Eltham taken from the hill in the 1920s and 1930s if anybody is interested (6621 6246).

Myra Pearson Spencer


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