Bega District Letters to the Editor, May 18

Raymond and Victoria Clements of Quaama enjoy the food and atmosphere at the recent Narooma Oyster Festival.
Raymond and Victoria Clements of Quaama enjoy the food and atmosphere at the recent Narooma Oyster Festival.

Politics aside

On behalf of the members of the Tathra Labor Branch we wanted to extend our thanks and appreciation to all those who provided assistance in our town’s time of need during the bushfire of March 18.

Our members were closely involved in the event, with one having lost her home, others having lost property around their homes, and some of us involved in fighting the fires house-to-house.

Even though we are a branch of a political party, in dire times like these, all members of our community, regardless of political persuasion, pulled together as one.

As members of this Tathra community, we applaud the efforts of many fellow residents in fighting the fires, and in particular our local Tathra volunteer Rural Fire Service brigade, Essential Energy workers who were on the fire ground on the night of Sunday the 18th making the electricity network safe, and all the responders from out of the immediate area who descended upon our town like guardian angels.

David Neyle, NSW Labor Party Tathra branch president

More reliable figures

The Bega Valley Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association believes the suggestion made by Sapphire Coast Tourism chairman Bruce Leaver, that statistical data made-up of “average figures” supplied by Destination NSW is the “most useful readily available“ to inform residents and ratepayers about the tourism sector in the Bega Valley is simply nonsensical.

The BVSRRA believes the statistical data published by Bega Valley Shire Council on its website offers far greater reliability and value, as it provides hard numbers rather than just averages. 

More to the point, as SCT has been the recipient of between $3m to $4m in ratepayers’ funds via BVSC over the past 10 years, the BVSRRA believes that when it comes to measuring SCT’s performance, the responsibility for designating the appropriate measures and how they are derived should rest with BVSC and not with members of a particular sectional interest, as is currently the case.

After a decade of ratepayer-funded support for the sector, the BVSRRA believes that the exit of SCT, together with the suggestion by Cr Bain that BVSC intends applying to IPART to expand the scope of its Special Rate Variation for Tourism, now represents a perfect opportunity to take “time out” to conduct a full review of current arrangements, in particular to allow the community to have a voice in the future of the tourism sector.

The BVSRRA is not advocating that ratepayer support for the sector should be withdrawn, but rather it believes that current circumstances make for an ideal opportunity for the community to be consulted on that question and that it should not be left to BVSC or sectional interests to make that call.

John Richardson, BVSRRA

Slow down, move over

Last week in State Parliament Labor introduced ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ (SLOMO) legislation to protect emergency responders on NSW roads. These SLOMO laws would require drivers to reduce their speed to a maximum of 40 kilometres per hour when passing stationary emergency or incident response vehicles.

Similar measures have been introduced in other states and territories and have been advocated for by the NRMA, paramedics, fire fighters and police.

Although a one year trial is slated to start in September, the Berejiklian government has failed to include tow truck drivers, RMS incident vehicles or NRMA roadside assistance vehicles.

Labor believes every person deserves to feel safe in their workplace. The NSW government must give bipartisan support to this legislation to ensure that happens.

Jodi McKay, Shadow Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight

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