Letters to the editor - Jan 21

Re: development
I was dismayed to find out that the position of community development officer has not been maintained by Council.
Is it really true that Lismore does not value social cohesion? Building and maintaining a strong, resilient, vibrant community means attending to potential problems before they blow up, and making sure all the different groups in our multi-facetted community get a fair go and are included. This does not happen by itself!
To cut out the person who focuses on social inclusion and on making sure these goals are consistently worked towards is an extremely short-sighted step Lismore City Council has taken. I am assuming it was meant to save Council money. Haven’t we learnt yet that the economic factor is never the only one that should be considered when making intelligent decisions?
I hope this decision will be turned around for the sake of our beautiful, diverse community.
Sabina Baltruweit
The Channon

Wrong message
I am distressed to see on page 25 a recipe for roo meat (Echo, Jan 14).
Are you not aware of the sickening distress that wallabies and kangaroos are going through? And that they are no way in plague proportion. Anyone who says they are is either a farmer or a hunter or in the meat industry.
Anyone who complains about whaling and is for roo meat is a hypocrite. Too many inexperienced shooters are out there killing inhumanely.
I have seen the most shocking footage of joeys being pulled out of their mother’s pouch and bashed to death over a bull bar. Exactly on par with whales being harpooned and seal pup bashing. Anyone who eats roo is either a careless human who has no respect for wildlife, or is completely and utterly ignorant.
Please do your research! Before kangaroos are wiped from the earth. In fact why don’t you just start eating each other, after all you are what you eat!
Louise Kahj

Pink dollars

In Lismore there is a vision for the town’s artistic identity. We, as a community, see the importance of promoting this aspect of who we are. Yet there have been no serious steps taken to construct the town’s emerging sexual identity and very little realisation of the social, cultural and economic benefits that taking these steps would bring.
According to SCU’s tourism dept, gay and lesbian tourism attracts $15 million annually into the community; this could easily be tripled if the community leaders of Lismore were willing to get together, construct a vision and begin to embrace a very vibrant and increasingly visible aspect of our community.
Lismore is the gay and lesbian country town capital of Australia and the region has the highest per capita of non heterosexuals outside inner city Sydney and Melbourne, and yet it’s only during the festival that we and Lismore City Council even sort of acknowledge this.
There is a smorgasbord of events on offer that bring in pink dollars, not only during the New Year period but throughout the year and there has not even been a Northern Rivers gay and lesbian directory created. Let alone any serious promoting of Lismore as the gay and lesbian country town capital of Australia or planning for the gay and lesbian tree changers who are moving here.
Lismore is a town with a lot of potential and it would be a shame if it left the sexual aspect of its identity out of the vision for its future.
Ben Cooper
Sydney, via Lismore

My wife and I have supported the Blind Society and the Guide Dogs for over 30 years.
We agreed to help out once again by telephone before Christmas. When our donation was not received within a certain time frame we were sent a letter of demand from Dunn and Bradstreet collection merchants who added a threat of reporting our bad debt which they said “may affect future requests for finance”. So we forwarded our donation via B-pay on December 14.
Recently we received another letter of demand from Dunn and Bradstreet which stated that, in spite of previous demands, we had not sent our donation (again with the added threat of reporting our bad debt to a Credit Reporting Agency).
I telephoned the Guide Dogs at Chatswood and was quickly transferred to their telemarketing agency. The young lady   there was apologetic but the stench of telemarketing and aggressive collection merchant forms of donation soliciting collection is still in the air. They’ve lost us forever.
Philip McLaren


An article in last week’s Echo (Jan 14) stated that an “information meeting” on the subject of the NSW Native Vegetation Act (2003) was to be held at the Lismore Workers Club. It was organised by Marshall Fittler to “sort some facts from fiction”. As I had missed most of the detail of the Peter Spencer story, I was looking forward to filling in the gaps.
The Echo article attributed Mr Fittler as calling for common ground between conservationists and farmers. The 2.5 hour “information meeting” on Monday night did no such thing. The attendees were asked by one speaker if there was anyone present from the “other side”. There was widespread clapping to the comment by one speaker that the “greenies” should be the ones to be denied food when the Native Vegetation Act reduced our food output.
Very little content related to the Native Vegetation Act. Instead, speakers covered issues as diverse as Australia being imminently inundated by an invasion of tens of thousands of Chinese farm workers escaping the bothersome male to female ratio back home, how Queensland is now technically a dictatorship due to an anomaly in their state constitution, and how our local government system has no basis in law because it isn’t covered by the Australian Constitution.
I understand there are people that are frustrated by some of our current laws. This is hardly news; we wouldn’t need police and a court system if this was not the case. However, if “this side’s” argument is going to get any traction in the wider public arena, then it is going to need better qualified, more eloquent representatives. As an aside, it would also be nice if people could stop referring to “the facts” when they voice their opinion. This isn’t about facts. The facts are shared between us all. This is about opinion. It is about people having differing ideologies from different upbringings and different life experiences.
Meeting attendees were told that a follow up meeting is to be held in four weeks. If the organiser’s intention is truly to “sort some facts from fiction”, then hopefully next time they will organise a diverse expert panel to debate the issues in front of a diverse audience.
Name and address withheld by request

White Australia, red meat
Re: Australia Day advertisement in the Monday, January 11Northern Star and The Echo. I found itextremely offensive in both content and style. The memories of old school days bully peer pressure tactics of conforming to a brutal beer drinking White Australian nationalist culture. The most disturbing thing about this poster is the communist style of art depicting three archetypal colonial white Australians holding polluting packaged meat products. As a long time vegan/ vegetarian, I wish to remind you that the beef and cattle industry worldwide is a major contributor to global warming. The Australian bush is under stress. Desertification is spreading fast. Rainforests are continuing to be cleared causing huge erosion, polluting rivers and streams. It is a cruel and murderess disease-prone industry which requires intensive use of energy to get it from the farm to your plate. This Australia Day at the beginning of a new decade calls for careful examination of the way we treat the world around us. We are not the culture of the past decade. It is our responsibility to fashion a culture of care and stewardship to our environment. Anyone interested in getting a Beyond Beef campaign going again in Nimbin please email me on bennyzable@gmail.com
Benny Zable

It’s time
With the story published in your paper on the audit by John Corkill and Dailan Pugh showing the destructive habits of loggers and the lack of accountability of Forests NSW in Yabbra state forest, it is now critically incumbent on the NSW State Government to place a moratorium on logging in native forests. Until those charged with administering legal compliance by loggers and Forests NSW have the resources and the underlying support of the government and the community, Forests NSW and loggers will continue to flaunt the more than 1300 statutes which regulate logging in native forests under government control. Compliance regimes must be strengthened and breaches punished with greater rigour than now exists if NSW forests are to be conserved for future generations and habitat values preserved. At the moment this is not happening and the main culprits are Forests NSW who allow loggers to get away with multiple breaches whilst not maintaining a public record of breaches and the results of investigations. This is simply not good enough and smells of institutionalised corruption! The NSW Government has also been incredibly lax and unmoving when it comes to drafting and implementing legislation controlling logging on private land, which has more potential to degrade and irrevocably damage the environment. In fact the entire approach by the NSW Government to conservation issues has become a farce and shows that their main interest is pleasing developers and resource exploiters who fund their election campaigns rather than looking after our fragile ecosystems.  It is truly time to be rid of them and a Greens voice be promoted in state parliament that has real teeth and power.
M Mizzi

North Lismore Plateau
December’s Council meeting confirmed that LCC will continue along the same path as previous councils by confining growth to the east, instead of promoting development of the North Lismore Plateau which would provide more than 1500 level, elevated house sites with magnificent views only 2kms from the CBD.
This would give Lismore a huge boost, providing much-needed money, jobs and real growth for Lismore whilst providing people with choice as to where they live, providing quality land with close proximity to town.
The land LCC has put up for its Urban Land Release is grossly insufficient to meet current land demand, let alone future land needs, but before any of this can even start to be developed, the Council has to construct the southern sewerage trunk main. They predict about three years now instead of the nine years they were to stage it over.
I wonder if Council even read its own Urban Strategy Plan that ratepayers paid for in 2001 and then had to pay again to have it amended in 2005. The university land was not included in the Urban Strategy and has never been put forward for public consultation. This is another example of Council ignoring its own guidelines when it suits. Council has continued to be silent about the stagnant land stock. The planning department state there is enough land zoned residential for more than 2000 houses. I believe this land was rezoned so long ago (maybe 50 years) it should be deemed redundant and wiped from the books. Council needs to make public the year that each block of land included in the land stock was rezoned. Anything rezoned more than 15 years ago should be reinvestigated as to its suitability for residential development.
Lismore Council obviously has an agenda to continue to push growth east and block development of the plateau. It’s a shame they are willing to sacrifice Lismore in the process and deny people choice when buying land and force them to pay trumped up prices because of the Councils orchestrated land shortage.
The plateau is a stone’s throw from the South Lismore sewerage works, the main town water supply from Rocky Creek Dam runs straight past the block and there is already power up there. So really, Lismore Council, what is your problem? The North Lismore Plateau has met all requirements and has had all the studies completed. It has no constraints, the Lismore Speedway operates within its EPA approved noise management plan. The plateau has been ready to go since 1985, it has been included in the Urban Strategy four times and then taken out four times. What are you so scared of Council? Give people the choice, if they don’t want to live there they won’t buy it.
Donna Purtle
North Lismore

Australia Day reflection
Australia has a jagged history. The very foundation of this country is built upon the domination and segregation of its native inhabitants.
Throughout the world many nations have utilised this same course of action, in the name of progress and often in the name of God. The very concept of displacement of beings from their homes by way of force is barbaric and outdated, yet a similar approach has been taken in the Northern Territory.
All too often, the easy targets are gone after and picked off, usually by way of force and control. This method has seen European people spread to all corners of the globe, resulting in drastic changes for those whom already call those places home.
Australia Day provides the opportunity for widespread reflection on the truth of Australia’s foundations, and to really accept our tainted past. To acknowledge the takeover that took place only 222 years ago may go a long way towards dissolving any separation that still exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia today. Because all-in-all, the deepest desire of every living being is to live in harmony within itself and its environment, and by accepting this we can allay our differences, heal the past and move forward as one.
Just reading a copy of your rag, I suspect you are the same editor as for the Byron Echo, although some of your copy is more rural in tone, and a leader about visiting Tibetan Buddhist monks is quite encouraging of harmony, rather than of division. The Byron Echo is heavily into promoting discord at the behest of the Corporate Taliban, or as I call them, the “rabid lemmings of the Culture of Greed leading the world to the edge of the abyss”, savaging all tall poppies etc with common sense who try to turn them from their doom. I remember a pleasantly gloomy conversation I, as an applicant for the VC’s job, had with the Chancellor of Southern Cross University, to the effect that no-one wants the Rule of Law and the truth anymore, and certainly not tall poppies. Anyway, any chance for the voice of middle Australia  to be heard in your rag?
Maarten de Vries


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