This week, 8 – 15 July is NAIDOC week across Australia. Following this year’s theme of ‘because of her, we can’ I want to tell you about the importance of women in all the work I do especially within my Aboriginal Services.
Women play a significant role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and this NAIDOC week we are asked to reflect on their contribution to the growth and development of our country.
For at least 65,000 years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge. In more recent times they have been there at the forefront of major turning points in Australian culture and history. From the Torres Strait Pearlers strike in 1936, to the 1967 Referendum - which included Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples in Australia’s population figures – to more modern issues such as the 2008 apology, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women have been a driving force for Aboriginal rights.
Having strong female role models is absolutely crucial to helping young people grow, not only is it important for young women, but young men draw so much from mothers, grandmothers, aunties and friends. Across my organisation, Youth Off The Streets, we have female staff in every program, from schools to outreach to specialist services the women in our programs contribute enormous amounts to bettering the lives of young people.
We have so much to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture. There are many inspiring stories from women on the NAIDOC week website at: www.naidoc.org.au. This NAIDOC week I ask you to reflect on the theme of ‘because of her, we can’ and think about how important women have been in supporting you and your community.
Father Chris Riley, CEO Youth Off The Streets
Ban cable ties
My wife and I have been coming to Merimbula (on and off) for the past 30-40 years. It is indeed a beautiful place.
We were disappointed late Saturday whilst walking across the east end of the Merimbula Bridge to find dozens of used cable ties where the advertising banners are hung. Little more care I believe would enhance the long term viability of the wildlife and the environment.
Randall Peart, Warragul
John Richardson (BVSRRA) has missed the point in his letter July 4 bemoaning the tiny sums allocated by the premier to the South Coast.
A political leader (Gladys Berejiklian) with funds to 'give away' will give them away where they are most likely to help the party stay in government.
In the case of the South Coast, Andrew Constance has practically no chance of being re-elected. He has abandoned the people who voted him in by giving no support to the thousands of voters who are so deeply concerned about the proposed Frogs Hollow flight school.
He has demonstrated that he is not our 'representative' in any meaningful way, and the premier is unlikely to place funds in an electorate that is already a lost cause. Unless he comes out very soon with some support for us concerned citizens, we can forget about any largesse from the premier.
If you continue to abandon us, Mr Constance, have a lovely time in the real world - you are no use to us here.
Paul Scherek, Bega
Like many people I often take councils to task for bad decisions.
However I would like to thank and congratulate all councillors particularly Kristy McBain for not only putting youth homelessness on the agenda but actually deciding to do something about it.
Before moving here five years ago I worked for 40 years in Sydney CBD the capital of homelessness. One lady used to sleep standing up during the day with her little trolley on Town Hall Station.
I could never say no to anyone who was suffering. Cost me a lot of money but I slept well every night.
Another time I was required to work on a Sunday so I pulled my motorbike up on the footpath. Blocking me was a very large cardboard box so I tried to kick it out of the way and there was a loud scream. There was an old lady sleeping in the box.
I thought when I moved here I would never see that side of life again. However homelessness particularly for youth is worse here because there are little if any options. I know one young man down here who spent Valentines night with his girlfriend sleeping under cardboard in a park.
We are all charged with the care of children not just their families who in a lot of cases are dysfunctional
All these young homeless people are looking for a hand up not a hand out. Ask yourself what you would do if these were members of your family. Then do something don’t just talk about it.
As a community we need to get together and come up with solutions before we lose a generation of children
Frank Pearce, Bega
The BVSRRA believes the limited scope of the report will do little to assuage the concerns of many local residents and ratepayers, including those directly affected in Tathra, as to identifying the cause of the wild fires and widespread concerns over the historic failure to pursue adequate hazard-reduction activities in bushfire prone areas.
While the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association submission to the Keelty Review focused very strongly on the need for a more stringent approach to hazard reduction, as well as the need for proper oversight to ensure that hazard reduction objectives were met, the review diligently ignored questions as to the cause of the fires, their scale, intensity, impact and related factors.
As Keelty himself observed, the Australian landscape is littered with the reports of investigations, commissions of inquiry, Royal Commissions, ministerial inquiries, tribunals, committees, most of which have failed to deliver real change.
In December, 2017, the Institute for Government (IFG) in the UK released a report examining the effectiveness of government inquiries and how they might lead to change.
The report found that there have been 68 inquiries since 1990 and that they had cost in excess of half a billion pounds to conduct. The report also found there is an expectation that inquiries will answer at least three questions: what happened, who is responsible and what can we learn from this?
Unfortunately, while it was obviously never the intention of the Keelty Report to address precise questions of “what happened” and “who was responsible”, the fact that these fundamental questions remain unanswered will continue to be a source of ongoing concern to the community.
The BVSRRA believes that unless the cause of the Tathra Bushfires and the adequacy of historic hazard reduction programs are fully and publicly examined, then there will be no compelling expectation that steps will be taken to prevent a reoccurrence.
Fortunately, the BVSRRA understands that there is a Coroner’s Inquiry underway into the fires, which should address those issues and the very real concerns of the local community that meaningful steps to prevent a reoccurrence of the tragedy will be taken.
John Richardson, BVSRRA