Tales of opening minds: ‘I feel I have been buffeted by change’

CONSTANT CHANGE: Wiradjuri woman, Barton MP and shadow human services minister Linda Burney during Saturday's Festival of Open Minds.
CONSTANT CHANGE: Wiradjuri woman, Barton MP and shadow human services minister Linda Burney during Saturday's Festival of Open Minds.

Approaching life with a flexible and outside of the box outlook claimed centre stage for the weekend’s Festival of Open Minds.

Visiting presenters such as Catherine McGregor, Dr Leeanda Wilton and Hugh Mackay, joined local identities Jo Saccomani, Gabbie Stroud and Zachary Sequoia in tackling the concept of change as a constant.

Mr Sequoia has been part of a movement which has lead to the foundation of the Bega Valley Innovation Hub.

“We don’t have a responsibility to protect jobs, but we have an absolute responsibility to protect people,” Mr Sequoia said.

WORKING IT OUT: Tathra's Zachary Sequoia ahead of his talk on a changing workforce at the inaugural Festival of Open Minds in Bega.

WORKING IT OUT: Tathra's Zachary Sequoia ahead of his talk on a changing workforce at the inaugural Festival of Open Minds in Bega.

He said the hub will play a role in upskilling people for the future and work closely with the private sector, with its first cohort to begin in January next year.

“Change is coming whether people want it or not, and the future of jobs is changing,” Mr Sequoia said.

“We are not going to have a jobs shortage, we are going to have a skills shortage.”

The political realm was represented by Bega Valley Shire councillor and climate change activist Jo Dodds, and Wiradjuri woman and shadow human services minister Linda Burney, who approached the issue from both a professional and personal angle.

Festival organiser Ian Campbell takes a break during Saturday's presentations. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Festival organiser Ian Campbell takes a break during Saturday's presentations. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

“In my personal life I feel I have been buffeted by change,” Ms Burney said.

The 61-year-old shared her very raw and personal stories of change, including the deaths of her husband, Rick Farley in 2006, and her son Binni in late-2017, the illness of her daughter, and her election to federal parliament.

The Member for Barton said she is concerned social media, on-demand services, the rise of the term “fake news” and the spread of algorithms is creating “silos and bubbles” of information consumption. 

Social researcher Hugh Mackay with Merimbula's Di Samuels on Saturday. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Social researcher Hugh Mackay with Merimbula's Di Samuels on Saturday. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

“We follow the politicians, news outlets or artists who we want to hear from. And unfollow those we don’t,” Ms Burney said.

“We consume news that only confirms what we want to see, hear or read.

“We no longer consume news that challenges what we already know.

“It softens our ability to think critically,” she said.

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