Sunday, 25 September 2016
This is what happens when an editor opens his mouth about a subject about which he knows very little……
The Daily Examiner, letter to the editor, p. 9:
Diverse communities of interest
Your reference in your editorial (9/9), "The divisions and jealousies between the different area's - particularly the up river/down river divide have to be dealt with decisively" by the new Council, is dripping with hypocrisy.
Many people may have been justified in believing there was a "division" when the DEX received the CVC's block advertising at the expense of the Independent.
You may find it "stunning" that rates balance between different area's still lingers after a dozen years, but it demonstrates profound ignorance of the diverse economies and different communities of interests that exist within the shire that demand contrasting services and facilities.
The driver of the lower Clarence Airport Shuttle will tell you the services to the Ballina Airport are far greater than to Grafton Airport. The market therefore suggests the lower Clarence is paying for a Grafton Airport it does not require.
In fact the Grafton Airport was in the Ulmarra Shire and it too saw no need for it. It was Grafton and its business economy that needed it, so it took over its costs. However, since amalgamation, it has been able to offload these costs onto communities that have no need for it.
Similar arguments can be put for the expensive services provided by the Grafton Regional Gallery and Library from which Grafton enjoys the direct benefit. Are our kids really expected to skateboard down the Pacific Highway, enjoy these services and then ride back for tea?
The then State Government forced four councils of rural, urban and coastal communities, each with their differing economies and communities of interests, into one council to cover a massive 10,440sqm, under the delusion there would be tremendous savings from economies of scale. In fact the only one that gained savings was the State Government in its allocation of Financial Assistant Grants.
Having spent a day at a Yamba polling booth, I experienced first hand the white hot anger directed at the CVC and it's up river centric governance. And they have every right to be angry. The Maclean Shire Council lived modestly within its means, paying rates 200% lower than the "City" of Grafton which had no bridges and only 180km of roads to maintain in its tiny 80sqkm area. For the past decade this rate burden has progressively been transferred down river to pay for questionable services it does not need.
With great respect, these services are not "jealousies" as you refer to them, they are economical facts.
As is the fact that the DEX received the CVC's lucrative block advertising at the expense of the Independent, suggesting the DEX is no more than an instrument of CVC propaganda to influence public opinion.