Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Merimbula missing out?

The "councillors in the community program" is set to run in November. This is an opportunity for the community to meet councillors and discuss issues of concern.

It seems however that only 10 members of the Merimbula community are afforded this privilege yet all other meetings allow 25 community members to attend. This seems to me a remarkably prejudicial position.

This may of course be due to their choice of venue, but the emphasis here is on their choice, the regional learning centre in Merimbula. Given the large choice of potential venues in Merimbula why choose one where attendance is less than half of that allowed at other meetings.

Robert Geary, Merimbula

Food truck solution

So yay the border is going to open. Easy solution for not enough venues with spaces all along the coast is to increase outside dining areas.

Also set up food truck/stall stops. In Merimbula Ford Oval could have food trucks allowed to trade with seating set up. Hire a huge marquee, add some lights and you've got a lovely outdoor eating area. The same thing could be replicated up and down the coast from Eden to Batemans Bay.

This isn't the time for problems, it's time for solutions. Everyone from vendors to council to government should work together to find creative solutions so that when Victorians are allowed out they can have a good time visiting our beautiful area.

Joanne McGrath, Merimbula

Increase income support

I work for Mission Australia and have seen firsthand the effects of poverty on people in our community. I want to see the federal government commit to a permanent and adequate increase to income support and invest in social and affordable homes to help keep people out of poverty and homelessness.

Pre-COVID, there were 888,000 people in NSW living below the poverty line, including one in six children. Without a permanent income support increase, and with the JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement recently reduced, even more people are likely to be pushed into poverty.

We know how distressing inadequate income support can be for the people we serve at Mission Australia. Without enough to cover the basics, they can be forced to make decisions such as going without adequate food, missing out on life saving medicine, or being unable to afford transport to a job interview. As well, many are pushed into precarious and unsafe living conditions because it is all they can afford. Coupled with the stressors of the pandemic, this can have a huge impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

As we move towards COVID-19 recovery, we have to make sure that while people are seeking paid work, they will still have enough money to put food on the table, stay well and remain safely housed.

We must never go back to the original JobSeeker payment rates of just $40 a day which falls woefully short of the income needed to cover food, healthcare, power, bills and rent.

I hope to see many Australians call on our political leaders to permanently increase income support and invest in new social and affordable housing so everyone is included in the recovery ahead.

Daniel Strickland, Acting Regional Leader, Mission Australia Southern NSW, ACT & The Riverina

Reach out for help

I write from the not-for-profit Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA) to highlight there is no question that across Australia, people's mental health conditions have escalated significantly. It is due to fear, anxiety and social isolation. COVID-19 has hit the community very hard indeed.

What is very troubling is that 54% of people with a mental illness do not access any kind of treatment. Close to 7 in 10 of all GP presentations are now people with mental health issues.

That's where the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia comes in. We have a special hotline designed to help people work out where they can get help. It is a free service available to readers in your area. Readers should simply call 1800 985 944. You can also get more information at www.minetworks.org.au.

Mental health issues need to be talked about more across the community. Close to half (45%) of all Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. It is now estimated a huge 3.8 million Australians live with a mental illness; 690,000 live with a severe mental illness.

We absolutely need to be investing more in services that help people with mental health issues. We must make it easier for people to access the help that is out there.

Our key message is reach out...because there is help out there. Visit our website or call our hotline. It is why the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia is there - to help.

Tony Stevenson, Mental Health Fellowship of Australia national CEO

Sunny days to come

I've been walking this road for so long,

Will it ever end, will I ever find the sun?

Please come back to me and shine forgotten gladness,

Come shine for me so I can let go of all this sadness.

Shining joy you came,

I can let go of all this pain.

Now I shall be free to my only friend,

The sun.

Wayne Salter, Bega

Have Your Say

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