Poor cousin councils

Poor cousin councils

It comes as no surprise to those of us involved to hear that the independent inquiry into the financial sustainability of local government has found that the 152 councils throughout NSW need $6 billion to provide and maintain the infrastructure our communities expect and require.

Long seen as the poor cousin of the more financially endowed state and federal spheres, local government cannot expect ratepayers to pay again for services that taxes absorbed by the state and commonwealth could and should support. Out of every $10 raised in taxes, the federal government keeps $5, the state gets $4.50 and local governments get a measly 50c.

Increasingly through demographic changes, escalating demands and ageing infrastructure, local councils are providing community services but with no real increase in Federal Assistance Grants funding. In the mid 90s, FAGs equated to 1.2 per cent of NSW councils costs, but this fell to less than 1 per cent by 1996 and is estimated to fall to less than 0.7 per cent by next year. Clearly things need to change.

It is therefore particularly galling to hear the federal government announce a surplus of $12 billion dollars when we know our community is crying out for assistance.

For a start, councils and the states education and health departments could put this money to very good use.

At the same time, the federal government needs to look at the GST to ensure that local government, the major provider of community infrastructure, gets a guaranteed, agreed share now and into the future. The growth tax nature of the GST could put an end to the cap-in-hand nature of FAG funding and the poor cousin status of local government.

Jenny Dowell

Goonellabah

Seditious acts?

Has anyone considered the involvement of Downer and Howard in the AWB scandal? Can this be interpreted as giving aid and comfort to Australias enemy? Under our new laws covering sedition, could the governments action make them subject to charges of sedition according to their own act?

J Hildebrand

Ballina

Funding fault

Twelve months prior to the last Council elections, Mr Keith Johnson undertook a concerted letter-writing campaign, lambasting Ballina Council in general, and denigrating me in particular.

One of the issues Mr Johnson took umbrage over was the sale of the Angels Beach land at East Ballina. The decision to sell this land was reached only after considerable research, information sharing and discussion, and was a very difficult decision to take. Having decided to sell the land, Council also decided to quarantine the money received for the sale; the interest received from this specific investment fund was dedicated to fund facilities and services for the people of Ballina. Councillors of the day believed that having an ongoing income stream for the development of needed facilities would be a significant benefit to Ballina Shire residents, in both the short and longer term.

Ballina Shire residents now need to be aware that things have changed! Prior to Christmas, rather than borrow money, and use the interest from the Angels Beach fund to service Councils debt for the HACC Centre, councillor Johnson (the same Mr Johnson who wrote the letters) moved to have Council use over one million dollars from the capital of that quarantined fund. His motion was carried. Thats right, Council will dip into that fund against the advice of staff and use $1.3 million from the capital that was to be preserved in perpetuity for Ballina Shire residents. So much for the long term benefit to shire residents. Once a million-plus dollars is taken from the fund, it will never go back. Of course, Cr Johnson always knows best ask him!

Marilyn Perkins

Wollongbar

Bomb threat

Since the children overboard affair, I have noticed a rapid increase of Manuels in our public affairs. To prevent further proliferation of these pests, should we atomic bomb Barcelona?

L Clarke

Ballina

Pool views

I am responding to statements made by Wendy Johnson on behalf of Lismore Council in relation to Lismore Lake pool.

The statements made by the Council last week that the pool will stay open for this swimming season is the only assurance the Council has been able to give. Wendy Johnson also stated that the petition calling on Council to retain the Lismore Lake pool is unnecessary.

The long term future of the lake pool is currently a subject of discussion at Council. Councillors will attend a workshop on March 7 to consider the pools future. The report contained in the Council November 2005 business papers highlights a number of repairs and upgrades which need to made. The cost is around $500,000.

The petition currently circulating aims to demonstrate to Council the strong community concern that exists on this issue. The petition calls on Council to recognise the need of the community to have this free swimming facility, and to commit to Lismore Lake pool in the long term. Lismore has a high proportion of low income earners that cannot afford to access the Memorial Baths on a regular basis. Even if we could all afford to go to the Memorial Baths, it doesnt meet the needs of Lismore children.

The November business paper states that Council has decided that no community consultation is necessary on this issue. We see the petition as our chance to express our views. We are also inviting everyone who cares about this issue to come along to the Lismore Lake pool at 3pm on Saturday, February 25, and join us in a Swim In. Come along and let them know what you think. For more information call Vicki Findlay on 6622 0712.

Vicki Findlay

North Lismore

Crazy car culture

With all these comments about our roads being not safe and the vain attempts to improve them I would like to comment to you insane bastards, those who use motor vehicles. It is not the roads that are unsafe. It is not the vehicles that are unsafe. It is the very greedy and selfish life you pretend to have that is unsafe. It is the petrochemical companys lobbyists that communicate with our government to the living environments detriment that make us unsafe. Your human life and our living systems do not really matter as long as some people can make a buck. And a capitalist buck at that. You are bucking idiots.

A doctor stated two centuries ago that it is impossible for human beings to travel safely at speeds of greater that 20 miles an hour. Guess what? After millions, yes millions of deaths, after tens of millions, yes tens of millions, of bodies maimed, after hundreds of millions of lives adversely affected, after every living system on our earth has been damaged, after every community has been disrupted, you vehicle users are still insane and committing your atrocities.

Will somebody please respond and help me get some safe walking tracks and camping grounds for us ageing ungrey nomads. What a lot of tourist dollars that would bring into Australia. What a much healthier aging population we would have and what an improved alternative for our younger generation. For at the present we have no choices but to assist in the destruction of lives and our environments.

Keith A Stone

Lismore

Just rewards

It is with extreme satisfaction that I watch the demise of local politician Mr Causleys political party, and surely the big fellas own political career.

The irony of Ian Causley voicing revulsion at those who have betrayed him and his tired party is delicious.

Any non-believers in karma must surely be having second thoughts as the Nationals implode through deceit, treachery and a genuine lack of party direction.

For too long the Nationals have survived as an outdated, self serving, anachronistic organisation designed merely to feather the nests of the last remnants of the 19th century squattocracy.

Ian, now, like all Australian workers, you know what it is like to be stabbed in the back by those who stood beside you, looked you in the eye and promised to do the right thing by you politically.

The Australian workers, and their families, that you have doomed to mediocre incomes and even poorer working conditions through your WorkChoices betrayal, will certainly not be mourning your current predicament. It is a just reward for your sad, ineffective and particularly undynamic state and federal political careers.

The Coalitions insidious WorkChoices legislations will come into effect shortly and parents and grandparents need to monitor how it affects their children in their workplace. That will be the true test of the legislation.

Local workers and their families should never forget the indecent haste with which Ian rallied around and actively supported the anti worker legislations his Coalition masters rammed through in late 2005.

The Coalition are fond of saying that the roof has not fallen in as the unions predicted. The hidden agenda to create a cheap and obedient workforce will only become obvious as the individual legislations are enacted and industries are picked off one by one.

A mere swing of just under 3 per cent against the National Party in the Page electorate at the next federal election will see sitting member Causley fittingly join the outrageously long list of local unemployed.

Our current elected representative has proved in his 22 years of ineffective local political service that improving local employment levels and the standard of living for his constituents is well and truly beyond him and his Coalition.

If just three of every one hundred people who voted for Ian at the last federal election change their vote at the next federal election, then the electorate of Page will be well rid of the Coalition and their political treacheries/scandals.

Then, finally, the good people of Page may have elected a politician able to demonstrate genuine committment to the electorate and its constituents.

I eagerly await that day.

Mark Ippolito

Goonellabah

RTA English lessons

The RTA is currently in more trouble than a B-double with a dodgy hinge joint over its North Coast Motorway plans. A revealing document found recently in a fauna underpass tunnel, near where koala trees used to be, explains in plain English what some of their technical terms really mean. Some highlights:

Upgrade: New multi-lane tollway.

Wildlife monitoring: Removal of road kill.

Remnant vegetation: Bit of a nuisance really.

Endangered species: Real nuisance.

View opportunity: Transient view of scenery from motorway.

Visual impact: Permanent view of motorway from scenery.

Ridge: Quarrying opportunity.

Valley: Where you put the quarried stuff.

Mountains: View opportunity or quarrying opportunity depends which side the motorway goes.

Interchange: aka Spaghetti Junction actually made of concrete, generally brightly lit, they last forever.

Median strip: Naked protestors between carriageways.

Impact statement: What you might hit if you drove through the area at 110km/hr.

Alan Stevenson

Broadwater

Mighty Macbeth

I would like to extend my congratulations to all those who were involved in the Trinity Catholic College production of Macbeth. I attended the evening performance on Saturday, February 4, and was absolutely blown away by the standard and professionalism of the production. All students performed with such a great sense of integrity, maturity and sensitivity. I commend all involved on being able to create such an intense, confronting and dynamic show.

Mr Peter Derrett must be commended for the time, effort, and passion that he has put into adapting and directing such a brilliant production. Year after year, he never fails to bring the best out of his students. The choreography of the production was magnificent particularly the dynamic fight scenes thanks to Ms Rubbo, and Mr Archer. Mr Michael Marlin must also be congratulated for his work on the continuous musical soundscape which created an atmosphere that greatly enhanced the mood and theatricality of the show. The list could go on and on the technical elements, along with costumes and set design were all brilliant. Trinity is a very privileged school to have such dedicated, hardworking staff members who have a positive vision for the students of the school, and who shed such positive light on the college community.

As a past drama and music student of Trinity, I am well aware of the educational value of being involved in one of these productions. There is no doubt that the students involved in Macbeth will have learnt to trust, respect, and work closely with their teachers and fellow classmates, develop confidence and belief in themselves, overcome the challenges presented to them, and develop a deep appreciation for the arts. The students of Trinity are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to learn in such a supportive, challenging, and rewarding environment. I look forward to the next production where the students of Trinity will, once again, be able to showcase their talents.

Brianna Slattery

Alstonville

The path to political activism

Id like to begin by thanking my number one supporter, the Earth. Not that Im trying to take anything away from the sun or the rest of the cosmos, also a word for my main sponsor; HO. The guilt I feel when friends pollute my environment with their cars, because the law says I cant help them.Now I read in the paper that home growers face the same time in jail as Ms Corby. Is this the will of the majority in action? It is draconian. You cant get cheap labour by colonising with convicts sentenced to seven years for stealing bread to feed their family. You can however obtain cheap labour in a private prison system by enslaving individuals for up to 20 years for cultivating a plant. Forget the shady deals with Saddam for only drugs are evil. Not of course pharmaceuticals whose profits diminish with better health.True story: I was a teenage alcoholic, which led to my gall bladder being removed. At 23, I was told if I didnt cease drinking, I would die. I basically went from being an alcoholic that smoked the occasional weed to being a pot smoker that drinks too much. Anyway, after the operation I contracted golden staph. After numerous potions and lotions the sores got worse and the future need to amputate my leg was discussed. Scary, hey? Anyway, in Nexus magazine I discovered an alternative health brief entitled the healing power of leaches. The following day I visited Protestors Falls and collected leaches which I placed on the said sores. I removed the leaches before bed and was totally recovered within 72 hours. Either the placebo effect and mind power cured the golden staph, or the leaches did. This is why I distrust modern medicine. This is why I became a political activist.

Marcus Davis

Lismore

Mass medication

Statements made lately have been bruited about to the effect that mass medication by sodium fluoride in our shire water supply is without doubt the best thing to do. The highhandedness of this attitude alone indicates that nothing could be further from the truth.

Fluoride is not a lot less poisonous than arsenic. I wrote asking fluoride chief John Irving if this is true and he evasively avoided answering the question. Fluoride is obtained by scraping the insides of aluminium refinery chimneys. Environmental law prohibits dumping fluoride on land or in water.

Our wise Constitution states the Australian Government has power to make laws with respect to:- dental services, but Not so as to authorise Any form of civil conscription s51 (xxxiiiA.) Mass toxic medication is unlawful. We are in danger of being conscripted to it.

Fluoride salesmen claim the chemical prevents tooth decay. Massive white sugar consumption by the people causes tooth decay. Fluoriders limply oppose cane sugar or do not oppose it at all. Putting a toxic substance on peoples teeth to deter the junk food induced bacteria, is wrong in principle, and in practice. Joe Stalin fluoridated Russias water, but that was not because he cared about peoples teeth. It is unhealthy fluoride sedates you.

Vyvyan Stott

Lillian Rock

Open letter to Peter Debnam

As the mother of a serving police officer, I consider your remarks about NSW police being doggo in relation to Middle Eastern criminals offensive in the extreme and fully endorse the remarks made by the Police Commissioner Ken Moroney in this matter. You Sir are playing the race card in an effort to win the 2007 election. You obviously think your friend John Howard has succeeded in this area and you appear to be ready to do the same.

My son loves his job as a police officer, but after a serious incident in 1999 when he and other highway patrol officers who were booking cars for traffic and vehicle modifications received death threats, he was diagnosed as suffering Post Traumatic Stress syndrome.

This reoccurred in 2000 and 2001, again caused by incidents involving persons of Middle Eastern appearance.

In an effort to relieve the situation he went off the streets into the office.

On New Years Eve 2005 he was on duty in Sydney when someone in the crowd let off fire crackers. My son turned around and saw people of Middle Eastern appearance in the crowd and thought shots had been fired. These people were completely innocent in the incident.

Upon returning to normal duties he has suffered from vomiting and gets the shakes as soon as he walks into the police station. When he is at home with his family he suffers dark moods and angry temper outbursts, which his wife and four children have to endure. His young children cannot understand why their loving, happy father has turned into a snarling monster.

So, Peter Debnam, when you pontificate about police playing doggo, in relation to criminals of Middle Eastern appearance, just remember my son and other mothers sons and daughters who are undergoing similar problems. You go onto the streets of Sydney, not in your upper class electorate of Vaucluse, but into the suburbs of western Sydney, and see how you would react. In my opinion you could be accused of playing doggo.

Name and address supplied

For the love of God

Im not educated in religion, just an ordinary person with no extra talents, but I do know that God is real and that He loves each and every one of us. His word, the Bible, has been taken and misrepresented by many and made religious. The truth is, if you choose to believe, that God is the Creator and we are created in His image. Therefore His word, the Bible, is there to help us live and have life in fullness, and we have obeyed to do what it is to be saved.

Look folks, dont take my word for it, check it out for yourself. Do you have life in your body to the fullness that you were created to have? Are you ill, in pain, have addiction, suffer from various symptoms and diseases, in debt, jobless, divorced, separated, family breakdown, suicide? If you are like me you would have answered yes to at least one of these situations.

The fact is that God loves us no matter what our situation is or what our past has been. It is our job to seek Him out. His love for us is the reason that He came on this earth, as Jesus, to die as a righteous man for all our sins. Then he rose again to life so that we can all call upon His name and be saved, and to help us get out of the situation that we created.

You may not want or need God and He will not force Himself upon you, it is your choice. But Jesus did say, the only way to the Father is through Me. Yes, this is faith and all I know is that life is worth living with Jesus by my side. Jesus gave me hope, a new heart of love, changed my life and set me free from my mess. God did not put us here with a bunch of hard-to-follow rules to kill us, but for us to seek and find Him so that we can be saved, free and live in fullness.

How do you do this if you want to be free from your situation? Simple, in fact the whole Bible is simple and I dont have any higher education to understand it, I just go to church on Sundays. All you have to do is ask God to help you change your life and He will prove Himself to you, simple.

If you want to know more about God and how easy it is to be free to live, go to church. Which one? Find one with life, God will guide you. Have faith, trust and hope. Do you want a new life? Do you want Jesus? One simple answer, your choice.

V Jensen

Lismore Heights


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