Merimbula letters to the editor, May 24

Dane Waites proudly shows off a letter of congratulations from ex-PM and now beyondblue director Julia Gillard.

Dane Waites proudly shows off a letter of congratulations from ex-PM and now beyondblue director Julia Gillard.

Julia Gillard thanks Dane

I wanted to thank you for choosing to fundraise for beyondblue by running from Perth to Pambula. 

The challenge of running over 4000 kilometres across Australia is extraordinary. I am sure the training you have undertaken since representing Australia at the Dublie Special Olympics has prepared you well. 

During 2015-16 over 161,000 Australians contacted the beyondblue support service, more than 700,000 visited our online peer support forums and there were over seven million visits to our websites. Many were seeking advice or information; others were in crisis; and many wanted to talk through their concerns – either with a mental health professional on our 24/7 Support Service or with someone who has been through a similar experience through our online forums. 

Today, more than three million Australians are living with depression and or anxiety. Having free access to practical and professional support is vital to empowering people in their recovery. 

Your contribution ensures beyondblue can continue to offer evidence based support and information to any person in Australia, at any age or stage and wherever they live. 

With my very best wishes for good mental health. 

Julia Gillard, beyondblue director

Airline responds

In response to a recent Letter to Editor which was published in the Merimbula News Weekly on May 17, where one of our customers, Diane Symes of Pambula Beach held a flight booking for a travel date in March, but was unable to travel on the booked date:

My bookings manager and myself recalled the event, where Mr Symes called to inform that his wife would be unable to travel and this advice was given just hours prior to scheduled departure time.

In accordance with our standard terms and conditions, where a passenger does not hold travel insurance and cancels a flight booking with less than seven days notice, the fare is forfeited.

These terms and conditions are clearly displayed on our website and also on all flight documents which we issue. All passengers agree to this at time of booking. All passengers are also given an opportunity to purchase travel insurance for additional $9 when making a booking with Free Spirit Airlines, which would be a safeguard against just such an event.

In this instance the passenger opted not to purchase travel insurance, which would have given her full protection against loss of fare.

We aim to provide highest standards in customer service at all times, but we are also required to observe standard airline terms and conditions, to which passengers agree when making a booking and as mentioned, travel insurance is always offered for a nominal fee.

Roman Badov, Free Spirit Airlines

Reconciliation Week 

National Reconciliation Week is held annually on 27 May to 3 June in celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and to nurture and grow on the relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. It is important to recognise that Indigenous history and culture is Australian history and culture.

These two dates, 27 May and 3 June, hold great significance to Australians as they represent two major events in our nation’s reconciliation journey.  This year is especially significant for indigenous rights as 27 May is the 50 year anniversary of the 1967 referendum where Australians voted overwhelmingly to amend the constitution to include Aboriginal people in the census and allow the Commonwealth to create laws for them.

3 June 2017 is also the 25 year anniversary of the Mabo decision, where the High Court of Australia decided that terra nullius should not have been applied to Australia. The landmark decision recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have rights to the land – rights that existed before the British arrived and can still exist today.

Australia’s mistreatment of Indigenous Australians is a national shame.  These two cases are significant in our attempt to rectify our wrongdoings; however our journey to complete reconciliation is far from over.

This reconciliation week I implore all Australians to get involved in your communities reconciliation events.  I invest in the Aboriginal youth of today, so they can be the leaders of tomorrow.

Father Chris Riley, Youth Off The Streets