Sophie Moeller
Sophie Moeller Cathy Adams

Community is about having time to engage

THERE has been a lot of talk recently about the value of community.

Last week Kevin Hogan MP affirmed his loyalty to the electorate when he announced he was moving to the crossbench; on page 3, our story about Child Protection Week illustrates how a strong community is key to the safety of our children and, then look at our front page on the Centenary of 1st Lismore Scouts.

Without 100 years of local leaders dedicating their time as role models to our children, there would have been no such group encouraging the next generation to 'do their best' around countless weekend campfires.

And what about how strong the community in Nimbin is; our story on page 5 tells of how Gail M Clark has raised over $70,000 in community donations for The Nimbin Poetry World Cup. On page 4, we are also given details of this weekend's celebrations marking 20 years of the Nimbin Community Centre.

Our region doesn't sound like it is doing too badly... but, it is at this point, I feel the need to say, we must never take it for granted.

Only last week Local Government Areas on the Northern Rivers were listed as the least affordable to rent in regional New South Wales.

The Affordable Housing Income Gap (AHIG) report published by Compass Housing Services, showed Byron, Ballina and Tweed listed as number one, two and four respectively as the least affordable LGAs in regional New South Wales. The rental crisis in Lismore is also well documented.

I read an article by Stewart Dakers in The Guardian recently that pointed out how big city house prices meant "able, qualified and dedicated job-holders are being displaced."

Their commuting replacements, wrote Dakers, haven't time to support the Rotary, Lions, Masons, Scouts, the Guides and the fund-raising that creates the calendar of fetes, fireworks displays, egg and spoon races, music gigs and carnivals.

Nor do they have the inclination to occupy the formal roles of trustees, school governors, committee members and church councillors, which "hold the town centre together" and "enable civic engagement". They're "knackered".

We can take comfort in the element of 'tree change" that brings people here. All the same, when someone new comes to town, be sure to make them feel welcome and then take them some CWA cake.

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