Letters to the editor

 We care: Letters of support from Eden Public School pupils to Bemboka Public School pupils affected by the drought.
We care: Letters of support from Eden Public School pupils to Bemboka Public School pupils affected by the drought.

The impact of Blue Ridge closure

Open letter to Andrew Constance MP

I have been an employee at Blue Ridge Hardwoods since they commenced operation in Eden in 2000 and have seen Blue Ridge Hardwoods grow from strength to strength and become a vital part of the Eden community.  Blue Ridge Hardwoods currently employ 52 personnel at their facility in Eden, four personnel in their Canberra office, they actively support many other local businesses and the majority of goods and services provided to Blue Ridge Hardwoods are sourced locally. 

Blue Ridge Hardwoods regularly support numerous local groups, e.g. they sponsor Eden Rugby League teams, Eden AFL, Eden Soccer, Eden Whale Festival, Eden Amateur Fishing Competition, Eden Golf Club, Pambula Show, Bombala Show, Bega High School, Lumen Christ Catholic College, Eden High School and Cann River School, Eden Men’s Shed  and Bega Men’s Shed to name a few. 

I feel Blue Ridge Hardwoods play an important role in strengthening the community infrastructure.

I worked at Heinz Greenseas Tuna Cannery for 16 years before its closure in 1999, and saw the devastating effect the closure had on the town of Eden and surrounding areas.  Many people who worked at the cannery moved away to find employment, some went to Bega Cheese and some came to work at Blue Ridge Hardwoods.  Blue Ridge Hardwoods was instrumental in helping Eden to get back on its feet by providing employment and supporting other local businesses in many ways.

Blue Ridge Hardwoods provide employment, they produce excellent and much sought after timber products which are sold locally and despatched to many parts of Australia. They supply vital sawdust to Bega Cheese, woodchips to the Chip mill, mulch to Kampman Transport, shavings and offcuts to Recycling Technology Group and also provide affordable firewood to many people, some who are unable to source it elsewhere and some who travel a great distance to get this.  

Eden and surrounding areas need to have the opportunity of employment, job security now and for the future of the younger generation.  If Blue Ridge Hardwoods are unable to continue production next year, it will be devastating for all employees, contractors and local businesses, the impact would actually be felt far and wide.

Rhonda Gallagher, Eden   

Less human interaction

Both nurses and teachers, including principals, are buried in so much government paperwork both patients and students are suffering.

For 15 years as the state co-ordinator for a major schooling system I spent most of my time filling out government-required paperwork to justify our funding. This included a horrendous, complex 400-page annual report with hundreds of indicators.

The nurses at Bega hospital are so overworked and stressed by the computer data entries they have to perform for every action they perform which takes up much of their time. Subsequently patient care such as showers and really personal requirements suffer. I would also guess it is exactly the same in every hospital, age care home, etc.

In this is the age of computer data collection for governments there is less and less personal, real interaction between humans.

The same goes for school teachers, principals and other school staff. Ask any principal the last time they taught a class and you will get a blank look

All school staff in one way or another are involved in the paperwork to justify their funding to the politicians who then pat themselves on the back and claim credit for any successes. In a lot of cases it is a requirement of the funding body that the minister is invited to any event that is sure to draw “positive publicity”.

The teachers in particular are required to take care of all the social issues of their students on top of their teaching load. Which in reality is the responsibility of the families

For both hospitals and schools there needs to be designated admin people to take away the paperwork and give back the humanity to nurses and teachers

Frank Pearce, Bega

Bring the children here

There are currently 119 children in forced detention on the tiny island of Nauru and the health of several of them is rapidly deteriorating.

After several failed attempts, recently a critically ill 12-year-old boy was eventually flown, with his family, to hospital in Australia. He had been sick for over 20 days and would have died within days without medical intervention. He weighed just 36kg and was so weak he could not stand up or sit. He had been held on Nauru since he was eight, having fled persecution in Iran, and he and his family had been recognised as refugees. They are legally owed protection by Australia.

There are at least 10 other children on Nauru who are suffering with a progressively debilitating mental illness called resignation syndrome. Exposed to distress and despair in those around them, including their own parents, they become depressed and lose all sense of hope. They experience social withdrawal, losing interest in activities such as school and play. As the condition progresses they take to their beds and stop eating and drinking which leads to an unconscious or comatose state. At this point they require intensive care including intravenous feeding and fluids as they risk kidney failure and death. The intensive and specialist medical treatment required cannot be provided in Nauru, despite what the Australian government implies.

There are more than 30 non-government organisations in Australia demanding the government release these children by Universal Children’s Day on November 30. The children are suffering and no-one knows what their future holds.

All children have a right to a loving, secure environment where they are free to enjoy the pleasures of their childhood. Punishing children to deter people seeking protection is uncivilised and inhumane.

The Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast supports Rural Australians for Refugees in their call to the Australian Government to bring these children and their families to Australia by the end of this month. It’s time to say no more.

Olwen Morris, Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast