Bega district letters to the editor, January 13

Horror at rescission

I’m writing in horror at the rescission motion being put forward by Mitchell Nadin, Tony Allen and Russell Fitzpatrick in regards to the Safe Schools program that passed council in late December.

Bega Council has previously supported our LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual) community through its motion supporting marriage equality. As the closest tier of government to our community, council is well placed to provide support to kids who need it and to educate the next generation in acceptance of diversity, even if our councillors don’t.

I ran as the federal Greens candidate for Eden-Monaro in the last election, and got an anonymous letter from a mother about her son who got so bullied and beaten up at Bega High, that he ran away and is living homeless in Sydney rather than face homophobia in his home town. She talked about her daughter who is also currently at Bega High, and has to “act straight” at school, begging us to support the program.

I saw several past students bravely speaking with the Bega District News recently about the bullying and beatings they got at school, and note how they strongly support the Safe Schools program.

There are testimonials from principals and teachers across the nation as to how effective the program is at stopping homophobic and transphobic bullying. 

If only it had been implemented in the school of 13-year-old Tyrone Unsworth, who was assaulted with a fence post for being gay, before he killed himself last month.

I feel devastated at the effect this rescission will have for people like my transgender friend who was thrown in front of a train at the age of 14 by bullies, and ended up in an intensive care hospital ward.

Shame on those councillors who want to throw transgender and gay young people in our community in front the metaphorical train that is society’s homophobia and transphobia, just for the sake of their own political agenda.

Tamara Ryan, Candelo

Thanks to hospital

While on holidays in November I went to the Bega hospital as I was not well and spent nine days in critical care. The staff all the way through the hospital treated me wonderfully and I just want you to know how much I am grateful to you all for your care. Thank you.

Mark Sims, Squeaking Point, Tasmania

Reject airport survey 

The Bega Valley Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) has reminded the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and Member for Bega, Andrew Constance MP, that it does not believe that Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) was the appropriate organisation to conduct a survey to gauge community support for the proposed deregulation of the Sydney/Merimbula air route.

The BVSRRA has advised Mr Constance that it believes council is totally conflicted and would only pay lip-service to the task of conducting a genuine and objective process of consultation, given its strong, persistent and public support for deregulation of the air route, and the reliance of its project to expand the airport on the successful deregulation of the air route.

The Association has called on the state government to reject the findings of council’s alleged survey, the results of which were tabled at council’s ordinary meeting on December 14, on the basis that its findings are simply not credible, in particular because it failed to elicit the views of a “representative sample” of respondents while, at the same time, it pursued a pro-deregulation outcome by deliberately “targeting” the views of partial “stakeholders”.

The BVSRRA believes that the state government cannot rely on the results of council’s so-called survey in gauging the community’s views on the proposed deregulation of the Sydney/Merimbula air route and that it would be extremely unwise to do so.

John Richardson, secretary/treasurer, BVSRRA

BIG CATCH: While on a family holiday at Tathra Beachside, Damien March pulled in this 11pound flathead from the Bega River mouthusing pilchard bait on a 10lb line.

BIG CATCH: While on a family holiday at Tathra Beachside, Damien March pulled in this 11pound flathead from the Bega River mouthusing pilchard bait on a 10lb line.


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