Letters to the Editor - May 20

ETS scuttled
Of course, if mad monk Tony Abbott had not scuttled the ETS (after first stabbing his own party leader in the back) Kevin Rudd would now be working towards implementing the ETS Bill. How dare Abbott suggest a delay is Rudd’s fault when very clearly it is his! Abbott’s hypocrisy beggars belief.
Bette Guy


He was the man who gave the Nation hope when he hosted Labor’s Climate Conference pre election 2007. Particularly as it followed on news of an unprecedented extent of ice melt in the Arctic the summer of that year. Not good for our bushfires and droughts.
Then he hosted the 2020 Ideas Summit and stacked the Climate forum with carbon industry heavies. Then he announced a grand emissions reduction target of 5%, no different to John Howard’s intentions. And now he’s even backed down from that too!  
What a wuss, Kevin07. Kevin 2010, say amen. Bring on the Greens.
S Burke

It’s a gas

I met with representatives from Metgasco last week. They are gravely concerned that the Rudd Labor government’s proposed new Resource Profits Tax will in their words “seriously impair” Metgasco’s Casino project.
Metgasco have invested tens of millions of dollars in the project to date. It has the potential to offer local jobs, and boost the local economy. It also will offer a supply of “clean” energy to the Northern Rivers, replacing some of our reliance on coal powered energy.
This project does not deserve to be killed off by another bad policy decision by the Rudd Labor government. Local jobs are more important than Labor taxes, to pay for wasteful spending.
Kevin Hogan
Nationals Candidate for Page

Compound fracture
Regarding the rate rise, termed Special Rate Variation (SRV), proposed for Ballina Shire ratepayers: do ratepayers realise that this proposed rate will compound each year, so that, four years after introduction, rates will be 42.5% more than they are now?
If Ballina Shire ratepayers do not want this to happen, then please send a letter to Council saying NO to this proposal, and register a vote on Council’s website ( be careful of the way the questions are phrased). In making their decisions, Council cannot ignore thousands of letters: each single letter will help reach the thousands figure, so just do it!
Marilyn Perkins

Wake up!

It is incongruous the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize, dedicated to representing those who support the community, should be awarded to an image of a sleeping head. There were several high quality finalist paintings depicting a narrative of people supporting the community which would have been more appropriate winners in terms of the aim of the prize. No doubt the deciding factor in the judging was the size of the sleeping head, a’ la Archibald, but that is behind the game anyway, the trend being to smaller paintings.
The danger in the NR Portrait Prize from the beginning was Archibald imitation, and to differentiate the two, the community service factor must be the characteristic of the prize in the future and made mandatory in the rules.
P Griffin

Rule change
So if the NSW ALP government doesn’t like the way the courts rule in an issue, such as the courts deciding that mining companies cannot just come onto your land and start exploring for minerals, what do they do? The NSW government is once again doing the mining industry’s bidding by introducing the Land Access Bill to overturn a win in the Supreme Court that favoured Gunnedah farmers against BHP Billiton. If passed, the Bill would make it easier for mining companies to access land for mining exploration by limiting the number of landholders that miners have to negotiate with to gain access. The Government will try to pass the Land Access legislation next week. Better get involved in helping the Greens defeat this legislation folks or you may be the next one seeing a massive mining project pop up next door to you or even on your land! The Greens’ Lee Rhiannon is working with farmers from Gunnedah and NSW Farmers to stop the bill if you are a farmer or any other type of landholder the only person trying to protect your land from miners is Lee. Maybe it’s time you showed her your support and supported other Greens candidates before the miners come and take over your land.
M Mizzi

Tax return
Don’t anyone be fooled into thinking that Rudd’s “Super Profit Tax” is at last an indication that Rudd’s making the wealthy contribute to ordinary Australians. No, it’s just one recommendation of the Henry Review that appears to be taking from the wealthy to give to the poor, but does no such thing.
 The Henry Review is not intended to help the poor. Quite the opposite. For example, it recommends a reduction in pensions and even further reductions in student assistance for people able to do some work, and reducing company tax further than Rudd’s already announced, down to 25%.
 The Henry Review is for big and small business, not the battlers. The mining tax Rudd proudly announced is part of a Henry recommendation that state royalties on non-renewable resource production be abolished. That only a tax on highly profitable mining be imposed. This takes away an investment risk in mining, unprofitable ventures are subsidised by the government. It is meant to be good for the mining industry to encourage more mining investment in Australia.
 And it is, despite mining companies’ supposed outrage. They are probably hoping to reduce the tax, but know full well they’ve already gained the abolition of state royalties.
 But does Rudd tell us that? Oh, no, he’d have us believe he’s there to help “working Australian families”.
 If any party in power in Australia wanted to do that, they could boot out the profit extracting mega-wealthy mining companies, and develop these resources themselves in a way that would benefit all Australians. They’re our resources after all.
 No party in power will even suggest such a thing, because they all kowtow to big business, not the Australian people. We have no power to demand otherwise, because we simply do not live in a democracy.
Doug Burt

No increase

Recently I attended the four Ballina Shire Council Special Rate Variation (SRV) community consultation meetings. I am one of the many ratepayers who do not believe there is a need for a 42.9% general rate increase. In its application to the Department of Local Government the Council admits that the SRV will not solve its financial problems. The reason for this is that the Council has failed to address the capital imbalances in its business. Rather than adopting a fair and equitable approach and reallocating its surplus financial capital to clear the infrastructure backlog, the Council is manipulating the situation to try and achieve a very large permanent increase in the general rate base. At the SRV meetings the Council, with outlandish claims, vigorously defended its property development activities. They are one of the causes of the capital imbalances. It was repeatedly claimed that the market value of the 89 Tamar St commercial property which is leased to the Department of Community Services is $8.8 million even though the Council knows the property was revalued down from $8.8 million to $7 million by an independent registered valuer for the Council’s 2009 audited financial statements. This represents a loss in value of $1.8 million. I could provide other examples but space does not permit. Suffice to say there is absolutely no need for a SRV. At this point in time the Council has adequate resources to fund its works program. Nevertheless the Council’s long term financial planning does need to be addressed. There is no point continuing with strategies and business models that have placed Council in its current financially unsustainable position. Solutions need to be developed and the community is entitled to be consulted and engaged in the process. The immediate issue however is to stop the Council’s planned rate increase. The Minister for Local Government will not approve it unless the community supports it. The Council is conducting an online survey until 24 May and I encourage readers to log on to the Council’s website and register a ‘no srv’ vote.
Vince Kelly
East Ballina

No party
I note with laughter your report about the National Party travelling road show (Echo, May 13). The paucity of interest is not surprising. Most people in this area that I talk to despise the political parties and most politicians. A few say that they’d vote NP if only they threw off the Liberals. I also note the trivial amount slotted for many decades of maintenance at Coraki Hospital. Reminds of the Queensland Hospital rebuild of billions of $s, probably at least half utterly wasted (I could tell you a lot of insider stories about that at RBH, as well as IT developments, the Y2K scam, and of course the legislated policy of “insidious extermination”, namely the “elective” surgery scam). Your correspondent Jill Garsden (letters, May 13) pretty well hits the nail on the head, but her advice will not be heeded in Big Brother’s “New World Order” and its God of Greed (Mammon the 17th-19th century poets called this god). In a sane world either she or I might be Prime Minister.
Dr Maarten de Vries


Australia recognised the International Day Against Homophobia last Saturday, May 15. The day enjoys official recognition by the European Union and over 50 countries around the world. Homophobia is deadly. In Australia between 25-40% of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) people have attempted suicide. Every night over 5000 such youth sleep on the streets. The 2010 day’s message is that every religion should acknowledge its contribution towards violence inflicted throughout history on LGBTI people. The Australian Government is challenged for perpetuating legislative violence by making same-sex marriage illegal. Major religions support our politicians’ ungodly crusade against marriage equality. Rudd, the hypocritical “Sunday-Christian”, poses for media shots in front of local churches. Does he grasp anything of what Jesus taught about love? No religion can produce one verse of scripture explicitly prohibiting two men or two women from sealing their love through marriage. Mightn’t the creator of the universe have said so at least once, if he feels strongly about it? After all, he went to so much trouble personally writing those holy books. Societal homophobia starts personal, with insults and ridicule in school. Families disown children and throw them out. Churches preach against same-sex love and refuse communion and fellowship. Government legislation outlaws same-sex marriage. And The Greens remain the only Australian political party with a clear, proud policy on equality. Spare a thought about it. Make a wish that some day sanity and justice will permeate families, schools, pulpits, parties and parliaments. Some day Australia will take its place among civilised peoples and belatedly admit that love knows no boundaries.
Lee Andresen
East Ballina

Wine and dine

Richmond Valley Council should approve an exemption to the No Alcohol Zone for the footpath area in front of the River Junction Cafe & Pizzeria in Richmond Terrace Coraki so that patrons (only) may enjoy their meals accompanied with wine or other alcohol, as is the customary practice in most outdoor cafe areas throughout the Northern Rivers and indeed the modern world.
I am aware of the need for the No Alcohol Zones in Coraki and the benefit this has made to the community in alleviating a social problem.
However, I would suggest that under the supervision of the management of the River Junction Cafe, no problems should occur with patrons enjoying their lunch or dinner in a civilised manner with a glass of wine or other alcohol.
I believe the exemption would be an asset to the Cafe and to Coraki as a great number of diners are accustomed to this practise. Cafe patrons should not be penalised for the bad behaviour of a few.
I ask that Richmond Valley Council consider favourably the request for an exemption to the No Alcohol Zone for the River Junction Cafe & Pizzeria and urge the Coraki community to write letters of support to Council.
Narelle Jarvis



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