Bega district Letters to the Editor, October 10

Partial review decried

The Bega Valley Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) notes the report included in the agenda for Wednesday’s council meeting advising that “a review of the Commercial Centres Strategy for ‘Tura Beach/Merimbula/ Pambula Catchment’ has been prepared and is recommended as a draft for public exhibition purposes”.

The BVSRRA immediately wrote to the Minister for Planning, calling on him to intervene in the matter and direct BVSC not to proceed with its partial review and to defer any further consideration of the Bunnings proposal pending completion of the full review of the Commercial Centres Strategy planned in 2018, which would give consideration to all commercial centres and their hierarchy, including Bega as the regional centre of the shire.

BVSC’s action in pursuing a partial review of its Commercial Centres Strategy ahead of a full strategic review of that strategy planned for 2018, is plainly designed to pre-empt that full review, with the clear and sole purpose of serving the commercial interests of Bunnings.

The evidence for BVSRRA’s contention is plain to see in that BVSC has advanced no other cogent reason for conducting a partial review, which clearly suggests that in the absence of the Bunnings proposal, it would not have initiated a partial review of the Commercial Centres Strategy.

The BVSRRA also believes that it is entirely improper for significant public resources to have been expended in promoting those commercial interests ahead of those of the entire community.

The BVSRRA has also advised the Minister that the actions of BVSC has caused many in our community to have serious misgivings as to the integrity and independence of the shire’s planning processes and to question the motives of those who have supported the partial review, including the Department of Planning.

Fraser Buchanan, BVSRRA president

Aims of amnesty

Will the professed aim of the National Firearms Amnesty to reduce the number of unregistered guns in Australia have the opposite effect of actually  increasing the number of guns in circulation in our region?

It could be argued that unused guns, hidden away in the attic, present less danger than guns in use. The Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, recognised this when he said it is “probably not going to be the case that we would have hardened criminals who have made a big effort to get a hand on illegal guns who would necessarily be handing them in”.

Senator Lleyonjhelm, a pro-gun advocate, reported, “We can be comforted in the knowledge that the Australian people have dumped 25,000 antique, inoperative, neglected, or unwanted firearms on the doorsteps of our law enforcement agencies”.

While unregistered guns handed to the local police station may be re-registered at no cost or penalty, and then returned to their licenced owners, the unwanted illegal firearms are destined to be scrapped and taken out of the market.

Not so the firearm handed in to a gun dealer, which may be scrapped, or registered and returned to its  owner at a slight, agreed upon charge, or can be resold by the dealer to another shooter. 

What a bonanza for participating firearms dealers who could have more guns to sell as a result of the current amnesty. Is an unregistered, never used gun hidden in the ceiling more dangerous than when it is dusted down, registered and sold to an enthusiastic recreational hunter?

Gun dealers, in partnership with the SSAA promote recreational hunting for all ages at the Narooma Huntfest, and benefit from gun sales, even though such a promotion of animal killing puts the environment and the wellbeing of our community at risk.

Why should gun dealers be given such an important role in  carrying out an effective gun amnesty when they have a vested interest in the outcome?

Name and address supplied