The reality of rehab

The reality of rehab

Don Page, like Chris Crawford, seems to have missed the very essence of the rehabilitation issue.

Rehabilitation care is not a matter of parochialism any more than it is of logistics, financial planning or demographic studies.

Rehabilitation is a matter of the care, support and comforting of people who have suffered such trauma that they are temporarily unable to resume their normal place in the community. I can say from personal experience that whilethe professional care and attention given by the staff in the Lismore Rehabilitation Unit is excellent, nothing can replace the care and support which comes from the regular visits by friends and relatives and it is not realistic to expect this to continue with optimum frequency where too much travelling is involved.

If the departmental red tape prevents funds being spent on the Lismore Unit pending construction of a new Lismore Hospital, then best they burn the red tape and get a grip on the reality of patient care.

Berry Spooner


Upgrade reaction pretty rich

If I were a member of the Bundjalung nation, indeed any Aboriginal nation, I would be bemused by the reaction of landowners along the Pacific Highway between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale.

They should be grateful for the notice of this irreversible violation and rape of their land. Thankful to still have their home, their livelihood, freedom, status, culture and religion.

Relieved their sons, boys, wont be kidnapped by the road teams and shackled to bulldozers to steer the best route through their country. And lead them, under threat of harm, to their beer fridge.

Comforted that their extended families wont be indiscriminately shot for sport by lawless thugs.

Building roads is what our society does. This is the society we advocate and from which we prosper. These landowners are a minority and they are weak. The rest of the world doesnt give a toss for their inconvenience.

And the shrill pleas for compensation! Well

Peter Brown


Unbelievable arrogance

Dear Mr Howard,

I am writing in response to recent reports that you have called on the government of Papua New Guinea to prevent mining proposed near the Kodoka Trail because of the trails cultural and historical significance to Australia.

I find it hard to credit that you have actually done this. Your government has repeatedly ignored the significance to various groups within Australia, notably Aboriginal Australians, of places where mining has been proposed.

To expect the citizens or government of a foreign country to forgo economic benefit because of the sensitivities of Australians when those same sensitivities are not respected in the same circumstances in the much more affluent Australia is to demonstrate a degree of arrogance and hypocrisy which I find, to be honest, unbelievable.

I hope you will be able to tell me that you have been misreported.

Jonathan Chance


Lets get serious about recycling

Could Centrelink start using recycled paper please? Could the banks maybe stop sending out paper that is fresh from the forest? Does anyone go to uni who does not like to destroy native habitat? Does the library have enough information on the subject to start using recycled paper? It does come down to supply and demand you know, it always has. So lets start demanding recycled paper only! And keep some forests for the future. If not you, then who? If not now, then when?



The Pauline Hanson factor

A few weeks ago on talkback radio a caller suggested that people who come to this country should be taught basic human decency. She had recently heard a news item about a taxi driver who had persuaded a blind woman to make her will in his favour. Upon her death he had failed to provide her with a dignified funeral and, indeed, his behaviour was scandalous. No doubt this news item would have been just another news item to this woman until it was disclosed that the taxi driver was an immigrant. She was then able to make that huge leap to assign this mans bad character to all immigrants. It seems she has never heard of similar happenings in this country among the native born. This is what I call the Pauline Hanson Factor. I give Pauline full credit for this phenomenon, not because she brought it into existence (because it has always been there bubbling away under the surface), but she deserves the credit for introducing it to public life. The result is that everyone of us is the poorer for it.

Examples of this kind are in themselves not that pernicious. They can be easily dismissed by saying a little prayer for the exponent. However, most unfortunately, these people vote! At her peak Pauline Hanson controlled 15 per cent of the vote. Our beloved leader is not afraid of boosting his ratings by feeding the would-be Hanson voters with a juicy morsel when he needs to. The latest example has been his call for all Muslims to learn English. For once, to my astonishment, the Opposition had a suitable response when they pointed out that our beloved leader had reduced the funding for English classes by $11 million at the same time as the number of non-English speaking immigrants had doubled.

At this stage, it seems to me, that the latest movement to create a coalition of independents has the capacity to divert the Pauline Hanson (now Howard) voters away from the government while at the same time supporting genuine Australian values. I wish them every success.

Paul Pratt

East Ballina

Nothing to be proud of

What great photo opportunities the Prime Minister and his Treasurer have had in the past week. Next well have Kim Beazley sky-jumping just to get in on the act something hes been inclined to do lately.

Meanwhile, Australians create a multi-millionaire overnight; the board at Hardies votes itself a massive pay rise while denying the asbestos victims of their company long overdue compensation; and the federal government continues its erosion of workers pay and conditions, having given itself a raise, promoting a divisive society, and denigrating Muslims and refugees.

Just what decent values are left of which we as Australians can be proud? Talk of a fair go, our great values etc etc. is just a load of excreta.

Cherie Imlah


Taking Council to task

Is it time Ballina Council was taken to task by its ratepayers over how it is spending public money?

Just recently the Council has been ripping up a perfectly good bitumen sealed road without any potholes at River Drive, East Wardell. The bitumen has been loaded on to trucks and taken away. The roadbase under the bitumen, which is good quality gravel, has been dug out and given to an adjoining cane farmer for nothing yes, nothing, no charge, absolutely nothing. New gravel has been carted in at great expense to replace that given away. Literally hundreds of metres of road have suffered the same fate despite the Shires gravel roads having endless potholes and needing gravel replenishment.

I asked the general manager why the Council was ripping up a perfectly good road, and I was told it was preventative maintenance and the Council was doing the roadwork before the road surface failed. But would you panel beat the dents out of your car before you had the accident?

By comparison, the Councils Pedestrian Access Mobility Plan has identified that over $5.5 million is needed to fix and construct the Shires footpaths. The same plan says $90,000 will be spent per annum on footpaths, and it will take 62 years to fix them all. The plan hasnt even got an inflation component written into it, so what will $90,000 buy in 62 years time? When the Council had its own concrete works, it had every conceivable reason why footpaths should be repaired, replaced, and new ones constructed but, now the concrete works has been sold, footpaths seem to be a thing of the past.

So why is the Council wasting public money, yes absolutely wasting it, on the River Drive roadworks, when there isnt even a footpath outside West Ballina Shopping Centre in Kalinga Street? Ive taken the Council staff on over this gross waste of public money and Ive got nowhere. So come on, ratepayers, now its your turn!

Cr Margaret Howes

Lennox Head

Appeal for reason

Jim Lee (Echo, September 28) is right to point out that people using the name of Christ have committed horrendous acts of violence over the centuries and that probably the Pope would have advanced his case much better by acknowledging this history also. But he seems to have altogether missed the point that the Pope was actually trying to make.

If he had bothered to read all of the Popes speech he would have realised that he was making a scholarly case for all faiths including Christian as well as Muslim to submit to the demand to be reasonable. Significantly, he was making this case in the context of an academic environment namely a university.

When faith is not grounded in reason it becomes an aberration, a distortion of reality, and thus very dangerous. Who would disagree with the Pope on this?

As to Jims implied charge that Christianity is itself a violent faith, this is just simply false. Those people who named the name of Christ were clearly not acting under any instructions from Jesus to do the violent things they did, so in what sense can they be considered Christian?

If you take Jims form of reasoning wouldnt it be fair also for him to acknowledge that God-denying secular ideologies (like Nazism and Communism) are in fact responsible by far for the most number of violent deaths in history? To give but one example, the Guinness Book of Records reports: The greatest massacre ever imputed by the government of one sovereign against another is the 26.3 million Chinese killed during the regime of Mao Zedong between 1949 and May 1965.

Make no mistake; atheism is also a matter of faith. Therefore, I think the Popes appeal to reason in all matters of faith is very timely dont you?

John Hannaford


The height of the matter

Readers may be interested in the exact wording of regulations limiting the height of buildings in Ballinas CBD and to draw their own conclusions thereto.

Relevant clauses in the current Ballina Local Environmental Plan 1987 (LEP) are:

Subclause 17 (2) Except as provided by subclauses 2(A) and (4), a person shall not, on any land to which this plan applies, erect a building taller than 6.4 metres in height unless the council is satisfied that the building will not (a) adversely affect the existing or future amenity of adjoining properties by overshadowing or causing loss of privacy; (b) significantly obstruct views from adjacent buildings and public spaces; (c) have an adverse impact on the scenic or landscape quality of the locality; or (d) exceed two storeys.

Subclause 17 (4) A person may, with the consent of council, erect a building on land in the central business district of Ballina shown hatched green on the map only if the building does not exceed 16 metres in height.

Thus the current mandatory height limit is 6.4 metres or two storeys. Ballina Council has discretion to approve buildings up to 16 metres high (there is a huge difference between the words shall and may with consent). There is no mention of discretion over any of the other conditions of subclause 17 (2). Therefore, a 16 metre height is not the absolute right of developers! Ballina Council has no obligation to grant the 16 metre height dispensation in situations where it is not appropriate, for example, on the north side of public open space along the river waterfront. This interpretation is in keeping with historical events leading up to the adoption of the LEP and a solicitors formal opinion. Ballina Council has been formally made aware of this interpretation but does not accept it, probably because of precedents already set.

No acknowledgment has been made of this critical factor in recent newspaper articles regarding proposed development along the river in the CBD or in discussions on the proposed revisions to the LEP.

Bert Carter



Fluoride no solution to dental woes

NSW Oral Health is pushing ahead with plans to build fluoride dosing plants around the state rather than provide immediate funding to reduce the 215,000 long dental waiting list. Dosing plants in Lismore alone will cost $1 million. The running costs, however, will be met by residents at an ever increasing current estimate of $170,000 per year. No relief in sight for tooth problems and an added financial burden for ratepayers.

Considering the latest research casting doubt on the effectiveness or safety of fluoridation, and many fluoridated regions in the state having worse decay than unfluoridated regions, surely this money would be better spent upgrading regional public dental facilities and providing financial incentives for the professionals to run them. If proposed dosing plants in our neighbouring health regions were also stopped we could have upwards of $5 million available.

The Health Minister has advised in writing the responsibility to implement fluoridation rests with local government. The ADA has also advised in writing the fluoridation of public drinking water is a matter for the local council. The president of the ADA has written we do not have blind faith in a pro fluoridation stance.

The peak medical body that previously supported fluoridation, the NHRMC, has recently changed its qualified support of fluoridation whereby it now, only in the last few months neither supports nor criticises fluoridation of drinking water.

NHRMC recommended safety studies were halted in 2002 on grounds of insufficient resources and with no intention to re-commence (NHRMC 2005).

So our peak medical research body has a neutral stance, while our peak dental body and state government will assume no responsibility and leave the reams of medical research and decision making to local councils.

No wonder fluoridation has been banned or suspended in countries all over the world.

Rodney Hearne


High five all you awesome women out there

High five all you awesome women out there

Jenny Dowell slam-dunked the final question on QandA

PHOTOS: Did we take your photo in the Q&A audience?

PHOTOS: Did we take your photo in the Q&A audience?

Producers impressed by "informed, passionate” Lismore locals

North Coast groups gather for farmers out west

North Coast groups gather for farmers out west

North Coast groups gather for farmers out west

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