Letters to the editor

Outstanding effort

AFTER being a patient in Lismore Base Hospital over a period of two years I would like to voice my opinion about the wonderful treatment and service during that time. A special thanks to the orthopaedic specialist, doctors, nursing staff, physios, domestic staff - in other words, everyone concerned.

Despite being very busy the staff did an excellent job and made my stay in hospital as comfortable as possible. I would like to thank everyone for their outstanding effort.

Trevor Stoker




WHILE walking through the streets of Lismore recently, I was appalled to see that the Knitting Nanas were publicly defacing the picture of Thomas George on the window of his office while a crowd of people gathered on the street were laughing at the antics and there were even TAFE students filming it.

You may recall Friday was anti-bullying day. The very day when we are reminded of the importance of instilling good values and morals in our children, not to make fun of other people for any reason and be kind and thoughtful. And here we are with grandmothers/adults who should be respectable role models, themselves being bullies and disrespectful.

What hope do we have for our children if adults are behaving this way?

K. Auckram



Money squandered

I REFER to the article in the Northern Star on March 18, relating to the proposed legislation by the NSW Government to sack councils that are performing badly, or are in financial strife. Lismore City Council qualifies in both categories. Our Mayor should be well aware that the former Labor State Government sacked two North Coast Councils - Tweed and Port Macquarie.

At a meet-the-candidates meeting prior to the last council elections, Jenny Dowell said she lacked business skills, but was learning. The chickens are coming home to roost!

We need to replace the current six pack with six experienced businesspeople who can look at council's books and see where money is being squandered.

Correspondence I received from council stated that council's salaries and wages for the previous financial year were:

  •  Internal staff $13,000,000.
  •  External staff $10,000,000.
  •  Council also has 47 cars.

No wonder our roads and other infrastructure are in a disgraceful state of repair.

It is easy to see where an experienced business committee could begin to help council and prevent a possible sacking.

John Barnes



Casino heritage

A HERITAGE building in Casino is facing demolition. Termite damage is cited as the reason.

I was a tenant and know the damage well, having found a lot of it. The owner and I discussed repairing the damage. At the last inspection while I was there, there were no active termites. The building was not seen as unsafe in September. The building can have a different future to that proposed by the Casino RSM Club.

I believe the club is not the only party interested in purchasing. I attempted to purchase the building. The real estate agent who contacted the owner reported a purchase minimum I couldn't afford. Presumably, the club has paid the figure I was verbally quoted.

A council employee declared a conflict of interest, because he is related to a club board member. Perhaps one of the salesmen should have done the same, given his past with the club.

A cry went up when another real estate agent sold a building of significance in the town, with a conflict of interest question.

I had two builders, licensed and residents of Casino, advise me about difficulties repairing the building. Neither considered it unrepairable.

Object to the demolition. If you don't, the building will be gone forever.

When I was in the shop, travellers would come just to look at the building and photograph it for their own enjoyment. This building is one of the images that the world sees for Casino on Google Maps. It's a landmark.

Why have a heritage listing if big businesses can apply to have them lifted for their own ends? Heritage orders protect heritage and should apply to everyone.

RG Courte



Capitalism's downfall

THE profits by the major banks are obscene, as is the 100% increase in electricity over the past four years. I remember when TELECOM made a profit of $666 million and everyone thought that was just fantastic, and it was. So they privatised everything and continue to do so. Now they all want $billions. Quite ironic that the greedy CEOs are destroying the capitalist system that created their wealth.

Do they understand what they are doing to their own free society? Seems that Karl Marx was right: The capitalist system will destroy itself when left to its own devices, followed by socialism/communism, depending on how impatient they are and who actually takes over.

Trust in the judiciary and government of Australia has totally evaporated over the past 40 years as they follow the globalisation agenda and sell us out to the highest bidder.

The sooner this is acknowledged by everyone, the better for all. Let's get our sovereignty back and rule according to our own culture and laws. We don't need the UN, secret societies, and failed states to teach us. We are doing a good enough job destroying ourselves.

Will ICAC investigate the banks when they are finished with the Obeids and MacDonalds, the judiciary, the paedophiles, Big Pharma cartels and the never-ending basket of rotten fruit?

Bev Pattenden



Unfounded concerns

CONCERNS that the NBN towers proposed for the Lismore and Ballina areas will have adverse health effects are not justified (Tower fears, Echo, March 7). In fact, the clear advice from the responsible regulatory body says that electromagnetic energy (EME) from NBN towers is a fraction of that allowed under the relevant safety standards.

The Federal Department of Health agency ARPANSA has said: "The highest values of the radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME) that the public would be exposed to from the NBN base stations that are currently planned are less than 1/100 of the Australian public exposure limit".

With regards to safety, the proposed facility is designed to transmit a radio signal - the same kind of signal as AM/FM radio and television broadcasts, emergency service communications (police, ambulance, fire, SES) and paging networks - which we have been living with for generations.

Contrary to recent suggestions, there has been nothing "sneaky" about our network rollout in the Northern Rivers. Last month NBN Co conducted information sessions in Alstonville and Murwillumbah, with more than 200 residents attending these sessions. The clear message we received from many residents who attended was that they were desperate for improved broadband services, and that they wanted them quickly.

The NBN will play a critical role in ensuring people who live in rural and regional Australia are no longer left behind when it comes to telecommunications. The fixed wireless service is designed to deliver the sorts of internet speeds and bandwidth that many in the big cities take for granted today. That includes improved access to public health and education services over high-quality video links and better internet access to open up opportunities for local farms, businesses and the wider regional economy.

That's what makes the NBN such an exciting prospect for communities in the Northern Rivers area.

Tony Gibbs



Rocky road ahead

IT'S interesting how and why some politicians are condemned when they break their promises, yet others seem to escape with their reputations undamaged.

Barry O'Farrell has broken many promises made pre-election yet seems to have escaped the pejorative language aimed at our Prime Minister. Perhaps being a "liar", "untrustworthy", and "dominated by minor parties" could only apply to female leaders of the ALP?

One of the major targets of this government is local government. It is part-way through an "independent" review which is likely to see significant structural change including the creation of regional councils and extension of the powers of county councils. No doubt this will effectively see the amalgamation of councils - possibly no more than seven in Sydney and one in our region - despite Barry O'Farrell's pre-election promises of no amalgamations.

Furthermore, the State Government's white paper on planning is unlikely to return any planning powers to local government as promised but diminish them even further and remove protection of key threatened species and habitat.

Finally, the Local Government Intervention Bill will increase the power of the Minister for Local Government to intervene in councils, including suspending them for up to six months without a publicly accountable process if just one councillor misbehaves.

None of the changes address the fundamental issue of constitutional recognition of local government and a review of which responsibilities should lie with each tier of government, with adequate funding provided for those responsibilities. Without this, local government will still be a servant of state governments.

Local government in NSW is in for a rocky road, and having witnessed what has happened to it and local communities in other states under Coalition governments, residents need to be aware and alarmed if they value their local input into their communities.

Ros Irwin



Arts funding for TAFE

A SURVEY was done in northern New South Wales a few years ago about the income from tourists related to the arts in our area.

Thirty-two million dollars came into our area, through motels, hotels, galleries etc.

Most of the trained artists were students at TAFE and from education through the fine arts, drawing, painting, ceramics sculpture etc, so not only did art galleries prosper from sale of work, but students took up curator jobs and teaching in the education

departments. Such activities help cement social glue in any society.

Please restore funding for these courses at TAFE and don't use the excuse that jobs and commerce doesn't follow, because clearly it does and the evidence is available to justify fostering the spirit of any community.

Bett Taylor



Talking turkey

THE cruelty to helpless, sensitive animals continues unabated in this country, and I wonder what kind of environment these mindless monsters who have no humanity towards animals come from.

It's not good enough that the poultry company will rectify the cruelty meted out by their workers to turkeys recently. They should be prosecuted for failing to monitor what is going on in their own factory. There should be self-monitoring of animal welfare in all manufacturing companies as a matter of law with persons appointed to do the job.

Cherie Imlah



End the farce

AFTER last week's display by the Federal Government, is it any wonder Labor is heading for electoral oblivion?

I've paid taxes all my working life, and I expect those who use those funds to do so decently and respectfully. This government is so obsessed with itself it has forgotten the people it is supposed to represent. Labor has been so wrapped up in its factions, its union powerbrokers and its infighting, and now taxpayers have to endure this farce.

I, for one, have had enough, and September 14 can't come soon enough. It looks like only a stint in the political wilderness can cure this party of its disease.

Gene Allder-Conn



Shooting the breeze

OH DEAR, Rob Andrews of the Hunting Club has resorted to personal abuse and name calling (Echo, March 21). It's a sure sign he has run out of rational argument. I can understand that. It is hard to convince the average Australian that amateur hunters, including children as young as 12, should be allowed into our iconic national parks with high-powered weapons to shoot animals for sport.

Does a bushwalker or park employee have to be shot before this madness is stopped?

Mr Andrews goes to extreme lengths to support this recreational activity, suggesting that somehow amateur hunters will be able to curb illegal activities in parks such as rubbish dumping. He is trying anything to avoid the thrust of my previous letter, in which I pointed out almost a dozen cases of serious breaches of the gun laws occurred last year. In one case last July a licensed hunter was caught drunk behind the wheel of his vehicle in a state forest, while his passenger shot a semi-automatic rifle out of the window at night (prohibited), using a laser sight and a prohibited silencer.

Even an employee of the Game Council is under police investigation for illegal shooting.

Mr Andrews obviously has no answer to these lethal problems.

I do. Do not open national parks to amateur hunters.

Cr Simon Clough



End Labor divisions

THE community is disgusted about the ongoing dramas in the Labor Party.

I have had numerous people approach me in the street today almost in disbelief about how dysfunctional this Labor Government is. The episode has exposed deep divisions within the Labor Party, which will no doubt continue to occupy the government.

The only way for the voters of Page to fix the situation is to vote out their local Labor member at the next election.

As far as I'm concerned, nothing has changed. I'm still working to offer the people of Page a positive alternative to get Australia back on track. I hope to be a strong voice for Page in a commonsense and stable Coalition Government.

Kevin Hogan

National Party candidate for Page


Prohibitive costs

IN THE Echo last week I read with great interest that there is to be an energy forum held in Lismore on May 23. The council is urging residents to attend. I was immediately interested so accessed the information through to book my spot.

Imagine my horror when I found that the tickets are $130 for adults ($90 if you book before the end of April). This is hideously prohibitive to me, and I imagine just about everyone else. I realise the council is not running the forum, nor setting the price, but promoting this through The Echo without indicating that it is a forum for wealthy residents only is disappointing.

In view of the urgent need for our society to transition to a clean-energy future, these kinds of events should be heavily subsidised by government to maximise the outcomes.

Amanda Pattie



Safer than bushwalkers

I FIND it difficult to take Cr Simon Clough's concern about safety in regard to amateur feral pest shooting in parks seriously (The Echo, March 14). He feigns fears about drugs and alcohol taken by shooters. I don't recall him being concerned about alcohol or drug abuse among the anti-CSG protesters Cr Clough supports. Normal decent people wouldn't engage in harassment and dangerous behaviour around large trucks and machinery if they were not on mind-altering substances, would they? Just like a minority of shooters, a minority of anti-CSG protesters engaged in illegal behaviour, but I doubt if Cr Clough would find fault with the latter.

I am sure Cr Clough's contact with the Game Council was infinitely more pleasant than the contact Doubtful Creek farmers had with anti-CSG protesters.

Every week amateur shooters, with varying levels of skill, safety consciousness, sometimes with various levels of alcohol/drugs in their systems, go shooting on private properties, (and have done so for years) and rarely does anyone get hurt. Compare that to the constant stories in the media about bushwalkers and nature lovers getting lost, hurt (sometimes fatally), and needing rescuing - therefore costing money that could be spent on feral animal control, and endangering the safety of rescuers, (in one instance contributing to a rescuer's death). And these people don't even have guns. Apparently redneck amateur shooters are much safer than bushwalkers.

The need for parks to be feral animal free is far greater than the need for a greenie to go bushwalking. If an habitual bushwalker feels unsafe in a park because of shooting, stay at home, do something else.

Cr Clough should get over his fear that this program might work, and give it a try. We may get cheaper electricity as well.

Wayne Gregory



Where's the evidence?

THE Queensland Government report on the Tara community health issues with CSG is in and reported no noticeable link to the CSG activities in that area.

The anti-CSG group, Lock the Gate Alliance (LTG) has been loudly claiming they were aware of cases of health issues in Tara that are directly related to CSG.

Why did they not share that information, if it existed, with the government health workers charged with conducting this inquiry?

Similarly LTG has claimed to have evidence of the adverse effects of CSG activity on land and water aquifer quality.

It claims to have evidence that CSG extraction is worse than coal mining in terms of its life cycle effect on global warming.

Will LTG make this information available to the NSW chief scientist Mary O'Kane and her team to be considered by her for the upcoming review of all CSG activity?

This way the public will be able to judge the LTG evidence after it is tested under expert scientific scrutiny.

Aidan Stewart



Good work

I'D MISSED The Echo's layout on page 2 in the March 14 edition. But I'm pleased to see it back.

The paper did a good job in the presentation of my pic and text in Slice of Life (March 21) and I'm always reading with interest your thoughts in the editorial.

Poor S Sorrensen who makes you sense the discomforts he experiences with sleepless nights and the savaging attacks of hayfever. I'm sure that some readers of his My Bed story will write to him personally, offering well-intended advice in dealing with those issues. Please pass on my heartfelt sympathy to sleepless nights.

Keep up the good work.

Margarita Luka



Focus on what we have

TO THE people of this beautiful North Coast, it was a big effort by all those involved to run Metgasco out of town, no matter what walk of life you come from or who you are. If you are one of the few who think that we have lost a new industry, think again.

Have a look at the DVD Root Land. This should convince you we have lost nothing. Life will be the same. Our rich agriculture land will be un-scarred and we will still be producing food that this nation is crying out for. Our export markets will move forward.

Casino should look at itself as a prime place to market its own beef and produce. It has its own meatworks. What a great start selling beef from paddock to plate. Cut out food kilometres and corporate greed.

Don't turn our prime agriculture land into an industrial waste land.

Our governments must move with the times and move into renewable energy with big solar.

Robert Morton



Safety concern

I WOULD seek to bring to your attention a safety factor regarding a Lismore City Council maintained road, namely Rotary Dr.

My concern is mainly regarding the guide post rails separating the road and footpath.

The steel posts have been placed next to the concrete upright separating the road and footpath on the roadway side.

My concern is the traffic travelling downhill towards the hospital and the possibility of a wheel being caught in one of the steel post uprights. Should this occur, a possibility of a vehicle being thrown into oncoming vehicles coming up the hill is a real possibility.

If the steel post uprights were to be positioned on top of the concrete instead of beside, a wheel would only most likely slide along the concrete. The present condition also allows leaves to accumulate on the uphill side of each post.

Frank Lucas

South Lismore


Saffin's judgement

YOU have to worry abut the judgement of Janelle Saffin sometimes. Last week showed how ignoble the Rudd backers truly are. It also shows that there is a clique of Rudd sycophants deliberately out to undermine Gillard, a group based in Queensland or hailing from there.

Considering the stench the Queensland and New South Wales ALP have left behind themselves it is no wonder these right-wingers in the ALP have been marginalised.

It seems more and more that the ALP is simply Another Liberal Party.

M Mizzi


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