Admit your mistake
I can live with most decisions made at council but I can’t live with the now adopted 13.2 per cent rate increase. In my opinion this council has got the rate increase wrong. The repercussions on the community are likely to be far more than anticipated. The council knows there will be people in this community who are going to face economic hardship when this rate increase goes ahead. Yet this council approved the increase anyway.
Recently, the community was confronted with a proposed fire and emergency services levy put forward by the state government but luckily the government came to its senses, recognised the proposed levy would have far-reaching impacts on the community and reconsidered its position. The government was big enough to recognise the mistake and change its mind.
On the other hand, the Greens/Gash alliance of the Shoalhaven were unable to realise this rate increase is a mistake and were unwilling change their minds.
It is not a bad thing to change one’s mind. It is a sign of listening to the community. Councillors need to shape and reshape their opinions regularly by talking to the residents they represent. There is a need for councillors to be fluid, flexible and open minded.
I have heard Cr Kaye Gartner say on several occasions the people she spoke to were happy to accept a rate increase. That may be the case in Vincentia where Cr Gartner lives. However, she should have visited Ward 3, the ward she represents, more often and she would have heard a different story.
Ward 3 is made up of 29 towns and villages and I can assure you the majority of people who live between Tabourie in the south and St Georges Basin in the north are not happy to accept yet another hefty rate increase. I’m not convinced the majority of residents living in Sanctuary Point, Huskisson, East Nowra, Worrigee, Nowra or Bomaderry are happy about it either.
At the extraordinary meeting on June 15 the Greens/Gash alliance demonstrated they were not listening to the community and were unwilling to change their mind or even consider an alternative.
Cr Mark Kitchener, Deputy Mayor
Myths need busting
I am writing on behalf of One Door Mental Health, a member of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia, to highlight a new awareness campaign designed to inform readers on schizophrenia.
Our campaign is all about breaking down barriers for people with severe mental illness. People with schizophrenia struggle to get the services they need, experience ongoing stigma and discrimination, and are among the most economically and socially marginalised people in Australia.
It’s a national tragedy that the average life expectancy of someone with schizophrenia is just 54 years. We estimate less than 50 per cent of people who have schizophrenia are getting clinical or recovery assistance.
This is precisely why we ask readers to reach out. If you or someone you know has schizophrenia, we are here to help.
The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia has a free service to help readers. Ring 1800 985 944 or visit minetworhs.org.au.
It is time we busted the myths that surround schizophrenia - like the idea people with schizophrenia never recover, people with schizophrenia have multiple personalities, or they are dangerous.
Many people with schizophrenia successfully manage their symptoms, and are able to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. Recovery is possible.
We urge people living with schizophrenia to reach out and access our services, join our peer networks, and get involved in our community activities. We are also here to support and offer our thanks to the huge network of carers, who work to build an inclusive society for the ones they love.
To the broader community, we ask that you join us in building a mentally healthy Australia - one where all of us get a fair go.