Bega district Letters to the editor, June 16

Headspace welcomed

Grand Pacific Health welcomes the announcement that a Headspace centre is to be established in the Bega Valley.

Headspace Bega will be possible because of the vision of local community members – including MP Mike Kelly, GPH staff, GP practices, education providers, Aboriginal health and drug and alcohol services, council and community health and mental health services. 

All of us have participated in the Bega Valley Youth Mental Health Steering Committee and advocated for stronger support for the mental health and wellbeing needs of young people in the area.

The announcement of Headspace Bega is a measure of our success in working collectively to advocate for the mental health needs of young people in the Bega Valley. Grand Pacific Health welcomes Headspace Bega as part of the network of centres in the South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network through funding administered by Coordinare. 

Ron de Jongh, Grand Pacific Health CEO

Rating slap in the face

The Bega Valley Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) shares the view of former councillor Janette Neilson that a properly conducted review of property ratings should take in all rateable properties in the shire and not just those currently rated as ‘farmland’ (BDN, 8/6).

In attempting to reassure farmers about the purpose of its review, council’s director strategy and business services, Graham Stubbs, has confirmed that the rating structure for farmland and residential land are the same.

Although he neglected to mention the proposed rating structure for farmland in 2017-18 will be higher than that for residential land, if council’s budget proposal is approved.

To Ms Neilson’s point, the BVSRRA would like to know how many pieces of ‘residential’ land, more particularly rural residential land of up to 40 hectares, are engaged in commercial farming activities or other business activities, meaning that next year their rates will be lower than those proposed for farmers or other business operators.

The BVSRRA would also like to know how council arrives at its ratings category decisions for land being used for multiple purposes that fall across multiple rating categories, but involving different levels of rates.

The BVSRRA would be also be interested to know how many ‘residential’ properties are being used for the operations of a business, suggesting those properties are therefore liable to pay higher rates.

Notwithstanding the denials from Member for Bega Andrew Constance and council, this latest slap in the face to ratepayers of the shire is not only being seen as an inconvenient and unwanted by-product of yet another failed state government initiative in the form of the so-called fire and emergency levy reform, but also as the potential opening of larger can of worms for everyone.

John Richardson, BVSRRA

Thanks from Salvos

The Salvation Army would like to send a big thank-you to the Australian public for its incredible support of this year’s Red Shield Appeal. There is great need in our community and the Salvos would not be able to give hope to Australians doing it tough without the overwhelming generosity of the public each year.

We are especially grateful to the thousands of volunteers who assisted us over the Red Shield Doorknock weekend to help those in need. We are heartened to see the Australian public unite to give hope where it’s needed most.

In a typical week throughout Australia, the Salvos provide 100,000 meals for the hungry, 2000 beds for the homeless, distribute up to 8000 food vouchers and give refuge to 500 victims of abuse.

Leigh Cleave, communications and fundraising director, The Salvation Army

WINTER COLOUR: Wattle blooms at Jellat on the Bega-Tathra Rd. We're told up to one-third of Australia's 960 species of wattle bloom during winter.

WINTER COLOUR: Wattle blooms at Jellat on the Bega-Tathra Rd. We're told up to one-third of Australia's 960 species of wattle bloom during winter.

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