What a wonderful world...

What a wonderful world...

I love it when rich and famous people appear on the media to tell us what a struggle it was to conquer their fears. (Having unlimited access and wanting for nothing is such a dreadful tribulation.)

Im so inspired when multi-millionaires express such commitment to ending world poverty. (How much do you spend on sunglasses Saint Bono?)

I am touched when politicians show compassion to the sick, injured or the families of those killed, while they continue to send young citizens to murder or be killed in foreign countries. (Not in my name).

There is no bound to the pride which fills my heart to live in a society in which CEOs get millions for throwing thousands out of work.

I am deeply impressed with a government which terrorises its citizens fighting a war on terror. (Makes perfect sense to me?!)

We, on the Far North Coast, sit eating tofu and chanting Om, while in Canberra and board rooms its filet mignon and chanting I wasnt informed and I cant recall. (Pre-requisites for promotion or a diplomatic posting.)

Its all well and good to be aware of such things, but what do we do?

Tune out, turn off, disengage?

Elect a different lot of scumbags (a rose by any other name)?

Steve Mills


Standing around

Life expectancy is a measure of the overall quality of life in a country. Australia rates 6th in the world, the UK 36th and the USA 48th.

Why does the Australian Government and management continue to grovel at their feet and continue to copy their poor quality practices, outcomes and dubious ethics?

In education, UNESCO rates Australia 3rd in the world and the USA 14th.

When will we stand up for ourselves and most importantly for our children and grandchildren?

C Bryce


Pooling resources

As a retired teacher, parent and grandparent, I am writing to express my great concern at the possibility of the closure of Lismore Lake pool.

As the only public facility in our area with access for small children learning to swim, my family are some of the many regular visitors.

This pool is an essential community asset, and with a small per cent of the dollars spent on the new city pool, it could also be an appealing tourist attraction if properly promoted.

How short-sighted Council will look to the community if they are seen to be penny-pinching with such an opportunity?

Jan Marsh


Food for thought

On Friday night (March 3) I had the privilege of attending the 16th birthday party for the Lismore Soup Kitchen in its humble shed by the railway line in South Lismore. The evening was filled with laughter, hugs, music, great memories and good simple food served with love and friendship. Every day, the Soup Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch to 40 people and relies on the generosity of individuals and local businesses to continue their good work. Despite the heavy rain of Friday evening, many old friends spent several hours renewing acquaintances and remembering the past 16 years in words and song.

On the way home after the event, I heard of another similar celebration in Melbourne. People were gathering at a home in a Melbourne suburb to acknowledge John Howards 10 years as Prime Minister. Im sure there was much laughter, hugs, music, memories and good (though not so simple) food there too. The big difference was that the guests at the Toorak function paid $10,000 (yes, you read correctly) each for their dinner. Is anyone else in our community appalled by this disgusting display of wealth? The thought that one person could and would spend half the average annual income of many North Coast families on one place at a Liberal Party fundraiser is jaw-dropping.

I cant help but wonder what the Soup Kitchen or many of our other struggling groups, which provide vital services to those in need in our communities, could do with the equivalent of only one persons contribution to the dinner in Melbourne. I also wonder how our Prime Minister, who only wanted a modest acknowledgment of his 10 years, defines the word. I suggest he is totally out of step with the values of ordinary Australians who are aghast at this obscenity.

Jenny Dowell


Voice your concern

There is a proposal on display in the Richmond Valley Council Chambers in Casino for a Sewerage Treatment Plant that CMCA Casino Village Pty Ltd wants to build on site.

Until March 17, the people of Casino and the people of the entire Council area have the chance to enter a written objection to the approval of the plan. While the proposed plant will only be able to physically affect the people of Casino township, it has the capacity to affect the entire Council population financially.

CMCA Casino Village Pty Ltd has been making news and making waves ever since they came to town.

Although Richmond Valley Council has done capital works to get the Village up and operational, with sewerage connections to the main town treatment plant, last year CMCA Casino Village Pty Ltd was denying the monies it owed to Richmond Valley Council for the works it had carried out on the Villages requests.

CMCA Casino Village Pty Ltd did not establish itself as a good entity in the town.

Now CMCA Casino Village Pty Ltd is asking the people and the Council to trust them and to approve the establishment of this new facility for them.

While the householders of the Council area are paying hiked up sewerage fees, CMCA Village Pty Ltd wants to build its own treatment works and it is further proposing the construction of an onsite retirement village of more than 50 dwellings in the near future. Coupled with the demountable dwellings already on site, it equals a huge loss in water and sewerage revenue to Council if it goes ahead and a huge windfall in the coffers for the CMCA Village.

In 2005, CMCA Casino Village Pty Ltd reportedly owed Richmond Valley Council nearly $1 million in unpaid fees for capital works, including the current connections to the Casino Treatment Works.

It is preposterous that CMCA Casino Village Pty Ltd would ask the people or the Council to even entertain their proposal and I urge every person who is able to please write your objections in to the Council, before March 17, if you do object.

Silence is taken as approval.

RG Courte


Look no further

I was pleased to read Julia Mellands letter Give Gbah a Go in The Echo of Feb 23. In total, my three children have so far spent 10 years at Goonellabah Public School. The opportunities offered by the school, the caring and skilled staff, and the fantastic musical program seem to be well kept secrets in the local community. The sad events of the past weeks, with the loss of one of the schools teachers from a car accident, has only reinforced my faith in the school community as the teachers joined together to support not only each other, but the children and their parents. Like Julia, I would like to encourage parents and carers to have a look at Goonellabah PS I know theyll be pleasantly surprised.

Jane Waters


The reality of religion

Religious fundamentalism of every kind, now unleashed into the world, is set to throw civilisation back into the Dark Ages, where raw emotion and naked fear rule the day.

On the pages of this and many other newspapers, the fearmongers peddle their wares, picking off one group after another, as they trawl their minds for the latest scapegoats. In its usual cynicism, media feeds on this madness like sharks on a dying corpse. If it isnt homosexuals, its feminists. Not them? Then its young people, or their parents, or someone of a different skin colour or race. Like some well buried toxin the bile of hatred and intolerance comes oozing out of the subconscious depths of minds thoroughly satiated by self-righteousness and a sense of raw justice. Science is attacked by minds filled with paranoia about hidden agendas. Religion makes us all enemies. Politicians, being the slippery fish they are, slide into rhetoric which confuses and beguiles to make political headway against their opponents. Our sense of right and wrong, tolerance and equality, liberty and egalitarianism has been jettisoned as collateral damage between one evil and another fighting their war on this or their war on that. Who wouldve thought that the 21st century would have brought such backwardness to the fore? Who wouldve thought that religious fanatics would have been given so much power? Who wouldve thought that the only choice wed be given by the leader of the free world would be If you arent with us, then youre against us?

But there you have it folks, the real Brave New World.

M Mizzi


Caught in the net

Gee, we are getting eaten by sharks when we are in their habitat. So whats new?

Do you realise its not the sharks fault, we are in their habitat and they are naturally hunters and anything in their habitat is food. (But you know what? They dont like the taste of humans.)

On the Gold Coast (love that name) the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) protect swimmers with the placement of shark nets at certain beaches.

During the winter months, eg. May to August, the Humpback whales migrate north from Antarctica along the east and west coasts of Australia.

Mother whales give birth along the coast and at Hervey Bay, where they rest until their calves are strong enough to migrate back south to Antarctica. On their migration path the Humpbacks have to pass by the Gold Coast (lovin it more) where these shark nets are situated.

For a long time these nets have been responsible for the deaths of adult and baby whales, among other marine life, but the DPI will not stop the practice of shark netting. Why not?

The DPI has been sitting on information presented to them of an alternative electronic device by an inventor on the coast for the last two years. Why?

Why cant the DPI at least remove the nets during the whales migration for those months that I have mentioned above so the whales can travel in peace without harm?

How many more whales and marine life have to be sacrificed, not only in the southern ocean, but along our coastline?

We are not the only species on this planet with intelligence, or think we are.

For the whales.

Paul Brecht


Work woes

I refer to Matt Schrecks letter of Feb 23. I was impressed in that he felt so strongly at things he had experienced in the workplace. I was motivated to write and say good on yer mate but then again I feel it wont help his opportunities in the workplace in future job opportunities.

I was further motivated in that I have experienced much more, again I would have some years on him. My last years have been of voluntary work and one particular position was a pleasure, while only one day a week, occasionally extras, but I was like a big kid going off each week. But in every case of apples a big bad one enjoys to upset or make people unhappy and you cant handle the pace so you move on.

My last voluntary job I was so pleased to be given the opportunity and lasted a whole two hours. I dont intend to go into detail, but I was treated so shabbily I told the supervisor I could no longer tolerate her attitude and I felt so strongly it could well be a case of harassment in the workplace. I wrote a letter of complaint relating to matters of those two hours.

However, my letter of complaint was ignored. I couldve taken it further but thought it isnt worth the effort, and because of that attitude people get away with it. Good on you Matt!

R Grant

Lennox Head

RTA antics leave a bad smell

Its 5am and Im sitting on my lean-to verandah, sipping tea. This is a regular practice for me, my morning meditation. I can see the shimmering sea as the sun rises, a ship passing by. The magpie, our regular visitor, scurries around me, picking up worms. The cows scattered around the paddock below me, like little black dots, audible but barely visible. This is a typical morning in the Meerschaum Vale valley, but that is about to change. The RTA want to build a big 4-6 lane carriageway, a big ugly serpent, right on our front doorstep. Why do the RTA want to destroy such a beautiful valley, knock down rainforest remnants and wipe out communities? The answer is in the question. According to RTAs own mission statement, the carriageway must offer the traveller a scenic journey with diverse views. The RTA/Geolink have quite literally ignored their own commissioned studies that proclaimed this previously unchartered route as the course of most severe ecological impact.

The residents who purchased land in this valley never expected an ugly serpent to appear.

According to real estate estimates I have lost $50-$100,000 off the value of my property since the RTA made this announcement. Will I be compensated? No! The RTA/Geolink didnt even bother to formally notify me of their intentions. After all, the 4-6 lane freeway doesnt run through my land. I will simply look over the top of it, hear it and smell the fumes. On these grounds I was denied access to the RTA funded counselling services.

As if this is not enough, I must endure the endless comments of the mindless morons in our community pushing hard to get this freeway built as soon as possible, backed by their rationalistic arguments; It had to go somewhere, they chorus, or Wherever it goes someone will get it, or We need it for safety, to save lives. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Lives will not be saved by introducing more trucks, bigger road, higher speed. In fact, those of us with a memory bigger than that of a fish will recall that we did not have a problem with trucks on our coastline prior to the RTAs development of a four-lane carriageway further north; which was by the way purpose built for them despite the RTAs previous claims to the contrary. That is why the road was built with interchange facilites.

So, how does the RTA get away with all this? That is; destroying and crushing innocent peoples lives and stealing financial equity from unsuspecting and unprepared communities? Simple! They follow a carefully devised strategy that is used universally. It commences with an announcement that a highway must be upgraded (vs a whole new freeway/tollway being built) and that four to six options will be evaluated. Let the community stew over it a while, then pick one and watch the others drop away in relief with renewed property market potential; ours falls in value, theirs increases. Very effective RTA! Divide and conquer!

But who wants to listen to me? Im just the little person that the wider community wants to shut up, just in case they end up with the problem instead. However, in the end well all suffer. Northern NSW will become open slather for business and development that is why the decision is popular with authority; economics at all costs, even if it involves stealing financial equity and lifestyle from the innocent. You can cover it up with your glossy semantics Mr Tripodi (oops Mr Whoever You Are, your name keeps changing) and your RTA/Geolink henchman and of course youll fool the gullible and greedy. But in the end its just another smelly rat and the less gullible can smell you.

Debbie Clement

Meerschaum Vale

Mob's got ScoMo all worked out

Mob's got ScoMo all worked out

Have ScoMo's scare tactics gone to far?

Strength in diversity

Strength in diversity

Multicultural women's group offers support to newcomers to region

'Together we have achieved a lot'

'Together we have achieved a lot'

Thank you to everyone