Letters - Dec 17

Variable rate
If LCC can find $3 million for the Folley ArtsCentre, which it must do if the government approves the $4 million grant, then why does LCC require an $800,000 special rate variance?
Paul Recher

Art for all

I came to live in this area 30 years ago from Victoria and was appalled at the rubbish venue for the Lismore Regional Gallery. A claustrophobic space with fraying coir matting on the floor.
Although some money was spent on an upgrade it is still totally inadequate. Art informs our life every day; creativity is not just a privilege for an elitist group. The Margaret Olley Arts Centre will be open to everyone.
Wendy McGain

Love works
The Lismore City Hall brimmed over with love during the six-day veryAbility Festival held at the end of last month, which kicked off with the masquerade Ball Of Love.
Thanks must go to all who contributed in making this festival a wonderful experience. A mountain of support and co-ordination went into this festival and everyone involved gave in abundance. All those attending the varied activities found themselves as participants in an investigation into the role love plays in everyone’s life. Lots of different types of love were uncovered, all culminating in the love of being creative with film, music, performance, puppetry, and simulated live variety ‘Normal TV’.  
The assistance and support the various communities in this region gave to this festival is to be highly commended. We would like to publicly acknowledge this and to state that love and creativity are accessible to all, regardless of ability. Both RED Inc and RealArtWorks would like to embrace all the people from different walks of life who shared their creativity and made something very special.
Ruth Tsitimbinis, RealArtWorks, & Jenny London, RED Inc

Deal goes sour

According to The 7.30 Report (Dec 8) the Co-Gen plant at Condong could fold because the value of the RECs has reduced to less than $20 from about $50 because the Feds have allowed home solar power and heat exchangers to suck up all the available government subsidies.  
This is not rocket science – all the government has to do is raise the mandatory renewable energy target and up goes the price!  
When is the renewable energy industry going to get a fair go from governments of all persuasions?
And why are the fossil fuel industries so afraid of renewable – will they lose their $6 billion subsidy?
Peter Thompson

Walk in regress

Monty Python was funny in its day but watching Tony Abbott practising his environmental silly walks is no joke.
The government should take real action by passing the Greens’ Safe Climate Bill, thus creating lots of green jobs, stimulating the economy and giving us a chance at a future on this planet.
Rosemary Walters

Planet misaligned
Irrespective of whether a person believes climate change is being accelerated by man-made action or not, there are some basic considerations.   
The burning of fossil fuels for energy production, exhaust emissions from cars and the environmental effects caused by mining activities are all unacceptable. Even if our actions are not contributing to climate change they are contributing to an uninhabitable planet. We need to change our use and abuse of natural resources. We are grossly mismanaging our scarce water supplies, overfishing and polluting the ocean with mining, continuing to log natural forest habitats, engaging in non sustainable agriculture and overpopulating our earth.  
Do the sceptics also believe man-made pollution and environmental degradation are not caused by man?
Malcolm Coulter


Still they laboured for 40 days and 40 years, building City Acres and condos by the sea. They multiplied, claiming he was a figment of their imagination, they had a flood wall and could molest children, elsewhere the sea level rose. You are in our   image, we will be fine, in the smoke from a million trees. As the days and nights were the same temperature and there was no breeze, they planned more power stations to air condition the backyard green house. Still they couldn’t see that 850 million cars was eating their days, in some places it was colder.
W Goode

Shore, shore

Many years ago (early 1960s) my father Alex S Gaddes showed me an ancient shoreline (shells, water-worn stones, pieces of coral).
This site was deep in the bush, a considerable distance up the side of Mt Seaview, in the Barrington Tops hinterland (behind Port Maquarie). This was proof of the tremendous forces at work, continuously remoulding the Earth’s crust to different formations and configurations, whether by volcanism, erosion, continental drift, or any combination of these and other elements.
Why are these factors completely missing from the speculations of the rising sea level/man-made global warming pundits? Land has appeared and disappeared from the oceans of the planet for a very long time and will continue to do so. There is nothing we mere mortals can do about it. That, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t clean up our act when it comes to atmospheric pollution that is within our ability to rectify.
On a more pressing local issue, the KKKKKK (Kill Kevin Costner Kill Kevin Costner) boffins have allowed me a glimpse of their Dry Cycle Forecast to 2055. If these predictions are correct (previous evidence indicates they are) we will be in for at least a three-year drought, and maybe a five-year drought, from 2015.
Rocky Creek Dam will not be enough!
Especially hard hit will be southeast Queensland. Those people in Toowoomba who voted against recycled drinking water should perhaps give thought to alternatives NOW!   
Don Gaddes

Can’t change stripes
Tiger has so much ability. If he is practising frequently on a secret nine-hole course it is to be expected he may get into the rough occasionally, and lose his balls. One cannot expect a hole in one every night, even from Tiger.
Ken Macdonald
Lennox Head

The waterhole

This letter is to anyone who frequents the Whian Whian waterhole, and/or who cares about this beautiful place and others like it in our area.
I write as a long-term resident of Whian Whian and a neighbour of the waterhole that Rous Water land adjoins (a picture of which heads their website).
I, and other members of the Whian Whian community, have become increasingly concerned about the level of public use (abuse?) this natural area receives and the impact this is having not only on the ecology of the area but also on the resident human community (ie. us!).
There have been numerous incidents of crime (theft and car arson included), injury, drunkenness, fire-lighting, littering (some of it pretty toxic), intolerable noise levels, late night partying, dangerous driving... the list goes on. Summer is of course when these issues are at their worst, so we’re in the thick of it right now. I’m sure this is not the kind of behaviour anyone would wish to have present in their neighbourhood at any time. We certainly don’t want it!
We have recently contacted Rous Water for their support in finding solutions to the current anti-social and anti-ecological behaviour issues we are facing in the use of this natural place. We have also contacted the police and Lismore City Council on this matter.
We’ve had enough. Local residents (both human and otherwise) bear the brunt of this issue. We regularly spend time picking up rubbish (which includes dirty disposable nappies, broken glass, cigarette butts etc). We are the first port of call when someone is injured (two nights ago we found a drunken person having some sort of fit in the middle of the road). We call WIRES when an injured animal is found due to the dangerous speeds some of these visitors use on our road. We put out lit fires that could lead to dangerous bushfires. And in payment for all this we are woken in the middle of the night by raucous screams and hooting!
Please, if you are a visitor to this place, we ask you to treat it with the care and respect it deserves. Help us turn this around. It’s important for a rural community to have places like this to hang out in and share, safely and happily. You’re welcome to visit our neighbourhood, just be aware that it is a place where people and other beings wish to live peacefully and safely.
Sally Newham
Whian Whian

Right on Keneally

The elevation of Kristina Keneally to the office of premier of NSW by right wing powerbrokers Obeid and Tripodi is akin to a right wing coup. On top of the unstated abilities of Ms Keneally we have an exposition of her faith and beliefs in something she said in parliament once. She reckons, after locking eyes with Pope Paul II, she had an “otherworldly experience” which one could construe to mean anything really. Did she immaculately conceive the next incarnation of God perhaps? Like politicians in the US Australian politicians continually try and sell themselves as a brand rather than as purveyors of ideology and Brand Keneally is sounding suspiciously overtly religious. Which begs the question, whatever happened to separation of church and state? Also do you remember voting for her as Premier in the last election? Contrary to Iemma’s then slogan “NSW going forward” NSW is actually going backward rapidly and the Coalition have no alternative policies which would prove them any more electable.
M Mizzi

Sartorial inelegance

If you had any doubt about the NSW Government being in steep decline when Premier Rees was the boss cocky then doubt no longer. The appointment of Frank Sartor as Minister for Climate Change and the Environment in Keneally’s henhouse puts beyond doubt the government is failing.
But worse than that it confirms Keneally either has lousy judgement or is a puppet of the uber-right, or both.
Sartor has a proven track record in the courts of “apprehended bias” with regard to development; he is unashamedly pro-development. Now he’s in charge of the department responsible for providing “the balance” to make sure the environment isn’t compromised. There are no prizes for guessing what’s about to happen, in fact, is happening.
Sartor’s department has just released the Draft Far North Coast Regional Conservation Plan (RCP) for public comment, (www.environment.nsw.gov.au/biodiversity/regconsplans.htm or phone 6651 5946 for copy), a companion plan to his unapologetic and insubstantial Far North Coast Regional Strategy released three years ago.
The RCP is a toothless waste of paper which fails to consider critical issues for the Far North Coast such as the capacity of the land to carry a bigger population, and which provides the necessary mechanisms for developers to destroy critical parts of our coastal environment. This destruction is described as “unavoidable”, which is just bloody nonsense. Of course it’s avoidable. There are no compliance requirements. It’s all airy-fairy weasel words, the sort of stuff you’d expect from the pro-development lobby.
But more worrying is that local government is to play key roles in biodiversity management, an area in which councils such as Richmond Valley have demonstrated precious little knowledge. If Richmond Valley did ‘get it’ they wouldn’t have included the Iron Gates or the area along Woodburn Road from the cemetery to the Iron Gates (Blue Pool) Road for future development.
The RCP is clearly controversial as it has been put out for public comment over the Christmas period, a standard ploy to minimise public input.
Yes, the fox is well and truly in charge of the henhouse and Keneally’s clucking noises are more than audible. I wonder if Sartor’s department will survive. Why not just make it a branch of the Department of Planning and be done with it because that’s what’s about to happen in practice.
Dr Richard Gates
Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee

Parent trap

All around me, wherever I look these days, are single mothers doing it tough.
Recently, a friend of mine had her partner leave her, and her two children, aged three years old and just 10 months – still breastfeeding. He just walked away – another (childless) lady having caught his eye.
Not only has our culture fractured into separate, work-focused, nuclear families, we are seeing more and more single parents raising children with at best limited input from grandparents, aunties, uncles, and other extended family. Childrearing tips are passed on from arrays of glossy paperbacks or government-issued DVDs rather than being passed on from elders down the generations. Television and childcare centres are the stand-ins for family members.
No child should be raised by one adult alone. No single adult should be asked to bear the trials and tribulations of parenting alone. Apart from anything else, single parents take risks. It might be leaning a toddler momentarily on the side of a bath-tub while mum struggles to undress single-handedly for a shower; or it might be leaving a child with an unfamiliar carer while getting the weekly shopping done. They are more likely to be overworked, emotionally wrought; and the quality of their care suffers.
Parents who are left alone to care for children often have little option but to work or suffer the economic consequences: abandonment of family has not only emotional and sociological consequences, but also condemns many single parents to poverty. Not only do single mothers (and some men) give up 20 years of their lives nurturing and preparing the next generation, when their job is done they do not receive accolades or celebration; rather, they struggle to position themselves again in the workplace, and may suffer further years of frustrating jobs far below their skills and insulting to their parenting achievements.
Childcare must not be seen as an adequate exchange for parental care, whether as a result of separation or working couples. It has been demonstrated by independently peer-reviewed research that children in over 30 hours of care per week suffer intellectually, emotionally and socially. Children benefit overwhelmingly by having a dedicated, at-home carer for at least the first three years of their lives.
It is not enough to have legislation pursuing child maintenance payments: I have another friend who works as much as she can part-time around caring for her four-year-old daughter. Her former partner, the child’s father, couldn’t be bothered working because his child maintenance payments would be taken proportionally from his wage. His mandatory contribution to his daughter’s upkeep, despite his zero hours of physical care, is officially $7 a week!
We need to support decent, wage-based payments for all full-time carers for ideally the first three years of a child’s life, whether the carer is partnered or not, and we must include re-entry programs for those parents who want to return to work. Diverting some military spending is a good place to start.
We need to reposition parenting and children at the centrepiece of our lives, for a rejection of children is surely a rejection of our future, and an expression of self-hatred. We should be praising, celebrating and supporting mothers, fathers, and especially single parents, no matter their circumstances.
Currently we (mostly single mums) are on suicide watch. Our friend is not mentally ill, she is a co-creator who has lost her creative partner, and momentarily does not know how to complete the picture.
Name and address withheld by request

On behalf of the team at OPSM Ballina and Lismore, I would like to thank residents of the Northern Rivers for supporting our recent glasses collection drive.
OPSM stores nationally collected over 33,000 pairs of glasses and sunglasses for the OneSight Foundation, with the Northern Rivers community contributing 1200 pairs. All glasses were repaired and recycled in-store, before being sent to developing countries to help some of the 250 million people worldwide who cannot see, simply because they cannot access or cannot afford basic eye care.
The OneSight Foundation is a global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving vision for those in need both here locally and worldwide through a number of programs. During the clinics, which take place in developing countries such as Thailand, India, Mexico and South Africa, volunteers hand-deliver free vision care and recycled eyewear to hundreds of thousands in need around the world.
To continue to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged people, the community can help OneSight Foundation reach the 2 million pairs of recycled glasses needed each year. All OPSM stores collect eyewear for recycling on behalf of OneSight all year round so we welcome community donations at any time.
On behalf of our team, and all the recipients of the glasses, a huge thank you!
Stephen Marshall and Susan Neil
Store managers

Never forget

History sceptics deny when Hannibal took his elephants across the Alps to attack Rome and there was no ice – today it’s a wall of ice; the medieval warm period when Greenland was settled and farmed for 400 years – then it quickly froze in 1423; the Chinese navy sailed the Arctic Ocean in 1421 reporting no ice; the sudden Little-Ice-Age when the Thames froze and Arctic ice reformed. The climate is always changing, every day is different.
12,800 years ago the northern hemisphere was suddenly hit by a mini ice age lasting 1,300 years because the Gulf Stream slowed; the climate always changes, cyclones, droughts, snow blizzards. Central Australia and North Afric were rainforests – now deserts. Siberia was warm with herds of grazing mammoths that suddenly froze with grass in their mouths – the history sceptics in government deny the climate has ever changed before.
They deny Earth’s temperature and CO2 being much higher than now – ETS is a vehicle tying a new tax regime to an emotive hypothesis they hoped sufficient community stupidity would swallow, where employment would decline and higher living cost reduce many to poverty sustenance. Most now understand the realities of this fraud.
G J May

Opened the gates
Peter Mullins denied the historicity of Noah’s Ark and a worldwide flood (Echo letters, Oct 22). He relies on Karen Armstrong’s writings, The Epic of Gilgamesh (2750BC), and perhaps also the internet.
Unfortunately Peter’s (Jim, Winston and others’) information is coming from sources heavily influenced by 19th and 20th century radical German academics. Those arrogant, ill-informed men, placing their own opinions above the clear biblical texts, taught, wrote and published extensively in university and tertiary institutions. Being the latest sensation, streamline theological colleges were forced to critically study their works. Thus their influence and views grew widely, and few scholars or denominations were immune. Today their views are soundly discredited and outdated, but their radical negativity is perpetuated by groups such as ‘The Jesus Seminar’ and many university texts and personnel.
Unfortunately lay persons do not have the depth of background or critical resources to withstand these errors. This is especially so when academics, universities, our ABC, the British BBC and the internet purposely perpetuate the false teachings.
Coupled with this, censorship is constantly used to exclude the truth. This is especially seen by those who hold to atheistic, evolutionary beliefs. For them, even the possibility of supernatural origins or intervention is intolerant. Indeed they have completely excluded it from the very definition of science. They are so vigorous that those who even mention ‘Intelligent Design’ as a possibility have been fired, had grant monies withdrawn, been isolated, or fired. Yet privately, evolutionists question their own position.
The current Australian lay attack on Christianity began in Victoria, following the controversial establishment of a course on Marxism, at Melbourne University. The universities Student Union spread this attack through their union newspaper, to all Australian universities. We now see it at the local level, via local media. All modern-day attacks have this political agenda background. 
Peter seems unaware that virtually all ancient civilizations have a ‘flood’ story in their folk lore. Although much corrupted and altered to fit each group, similarities to Noah’s ark truths are found. Remember the last Canadian Olympics ceremony, when the native population shared their (secret, sacred) flood tradition with the world? It clearly echoed the Noah’s flood account. The Australian Aborigines likewise have their great flood story. 
The Epic of Gilgamesh has a number of similarities to Noah’s flood, but in the end is too dissimilar for the biblical writers to have copied it. The biblical account is earlier, and far superior to all others yet discovered. It’s clear it has been faithfully transmitted from generation to generation since Noah’s era. It was certainly written down by Moses, and probably much earlier. Bill Cooper (After the Flood) wrote following 25 years of research of all the European and British kingly records. 
Mario Elba
- Edited for length


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