Bega District Letters to the Editor, May 22

Bermagui's Bethany Thurtell placed third in the 2018 River of Art comp with a portrait of her daughter Elise. First and second place winners also painted their daughters.
Bermagui's Bethany Thurtell placed third in the 2018 River of Art comp with a portrait of her daughter Elise. First and second place winners also painted their daughters.

Time for housing action

Your front page report of the ‘success’ of the roundtable discussions about the area’s lack of affordable and social housing (BDN 18/5) gives the impression that it was little more than a talkfest with participants simply agreeing there is a need for more affordable and social housing, and perhaps a need for more flexible planning regulation.

The shortage of this type of housing has been obvious for some time, yet nothing is happening with any rapidity to actually provide any of it.

Cr Griff’s proposal, greeted with unanimous support by other councillors, that council staff earmark land for construction of affordable housing was adopted in December last year but, six months later, no land has yet been identified!

And I discover even the roundtable - which could possibly result in some action - will not reconvene for another three months!

It’s time – in fact, over time – for something concrete to happen, for more accommodation to be made available.

I’d argue that future deliberations should focus on housing generally, not just affordable and social housing. Let’s rapidly agree on what housing needs to be provided in the Bega Valley Shire over the next 10 to 15 years, for whom, how and where it is to be provided, and how it is to be funded…and then let’s move rapidly to actually start to provide it.

Because council is the most representative, elected body in the area, it should take the lead in encouraging and facilitating these deliberations.

There is no shortage of land in the area and the Bega area is, in so many respects, an ideal place to live.

Adding another 100, 500 or even 1000 dwellings in and around Bega that catered for the broadest possible needs of the community, and attracted more residents to the area, would be one of the most positive things that could now happen in the town.

Peter Lacey, Quaama

Passion for renewables

I am passionate about limiting the impacts of climate change and the need for governments, across the spectrum, to act decisively on renewable energy.

Eden-Monaro is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to climate change.  Our billion dollar ski industry, our farmers and our tourism industry all depend on consistent and reliable weather to survive and prosper.

Furthermore, renewable energy is becoming increasingly important to our local economy with our new wind farms, solar farms and the forthcoming expansion of the Snowy Hydro.

However, Snowy Hydro has said their expansion project will only stack up with ambitious renewable energy investment, and it will benefit from an ambitious national renewable energy target, like Labor’s commitment to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Unfortunately, the recent Federal Budget continued the government's attack on Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target.

A target that is not only beneficial to the Snowy Hydro expansion but all experts say is needed to lower power prices, reduce pollution and meet our international commitments on emissions reductions.

This year’s budget also contains a dramatic reduction in renewable financing that is available for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in renewable energy.

As a nation, we must do better than this.

We need bi-partisan support for the orderly transition to renewables based on thorough and informed research of the Finkel report.

This will ensure the stability of our national energy market that is required by community, business and to keep our local economy in Eden-Monaro growing.

Most importantly, we need to understand that if we fail to come together as a nation to address climate change and transition to renewables, we rightly stand to be condemned by future generations.

Mike Kelly, Labor Member for Eden-Monaro

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