Let­ters to the edi­tor

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

Ex­pla­na­tion is re­quired

I FULLY en­dorse the let­ter by An­thony O’Rourke ( Whit­sun­day Times, July 18, 2013).

Who in the pre­vi­ous coun­cil was re­spon­si­ble for this spend­ing spree and how did it oc­cur?

We are talk­ing mil­lions of dollars of ratepay­ers’ money which has to be re­paid, not a small over­spend here and there.

We have read all the agony of the cur­rent coun­cil bring­ing down a tough bud­get but we still have not been pro­vided with a “full and frank ex­pla­na­tion as to what went on, how it was al­lowed to oc­cur and what has been done to pre­vent any re­peat” ( An­thony O'Rourke ).

Spend­ing mil­lions of dollars of some­one else’s money (ours in this case) is a very se­ri­ous mat­ter, so the sooner a proper ex­pla­na­tion is given, the bet­ter.

This mat­ter will not go away.

Ka­rina Shim CANNONVALE Pay cut sug­gested

I would like to state at the out­set that I don’t know any of the coun­cil­lors, so the fol­low­ing is noth­ing per­sonal.

Re­gard­ing our mayor Jennifer Whit­ney re­spond­ing to ac­cu­sa­tions of be­ing in­volved with coun­cil mis-spend­ing by the pre­vi­ous coun­cil – “It wasn’t me, I didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing.”

As a coun­cil­lor in the for­mer coun­cil with oth­ers, she should have known. It cer­tainly doesn’t give one any con­fi­dence.

With the coun­cil fi­nan­cial cri­sis loom­ing, Ms Whit­ney de­cided it was a good time to ask for a raise for her­self and her fel­low coun­cil­lors. She ba­si­cally said that if they didn’t get their raise, “you can hardly ex­pect peo­ple to give 100%.”

I be­lieve that be­ing a coun­cil­lor should be a full time job, but it seems it’s OK to run a busi­ness and be a part-time coun­cil­lor. A nice lit­tle money-earner on the side. But it’s hardly giv­ing 100%.

I be­lieve they asked for the high­est avail­able pay rise un­der lo­cal coun­cil laws, but this was re­fused and I un­der­stand they re­ceived a lesser amount. But I think they did get a raise. In the pub­lic sec­tor, they would have been fired for mis-man­ag­ing com­pany funds and non-per­for­mance.

Maybe some kind par­ent of a Proser­pine High School child who is good at maths, could loan them to the coun­cil to as­sist with their ac­counts. With con­stant rub­bery fig­ures, it was ob­vi­ous that there was a ma­jor fi­nan­cial prob­lem.

Over­spend­ing caused bor­row­ings to look like lot­tery prize fig­ures. Panic! What to do? I know, we’ll charge the ratepay­ers a levy and raise the rates. It would seem that through coun­cil mis­man­age­ment of funds that we the ratepay­ers have to pay for their many mis­takes.

Maybe the coun­cil­lors could show a good ex­am­ple in th­ese tough times by tak­ing a pay cut. And pigs may fly, but don’t look out your win­dow ex­pect­ing to see any.

Doug Jarvis AIR­LIE BEACH Shopfront wanted

(I would like) to thank the Whit­sun­day Times and ev­ery­one con­cerned in the won­der­ful cov­er­age we had for our Air­lie Re­union.

The re­sponse was mag­nif­i­cent to such an ex­tent we will do it again next year, about the same time but over two days.

We are still look­ing for a good venue to dis­play the won­der­ful mem­o­ra­bilia that was on show on June 29.

We were hop­ing for one of the empty shops in Air­lie if an owner would come for­ward. We would prob­a­bly need it un­til De­cem­ber so that ev­ery­one can have a great browse, es­pe­cially the school chil­dren and the vis­i­tors from the cruise boats, which are com­ing in so reg­u­larly.

I think we are closely com­ing to the point where we need our own art and craft cen­tre for things such as this. We have some very tal­ented artists in our town who are cur­rently show­ing their work in the “gallery” at the old post of­fice.

We must not for­get the won­der­ful craft work that many of our fine sew­ers pro­duce all the time.

A spe­cial place for all this art and craft would be a won­der­ful boost for our lo­cal tal­ents and an­other land based at­trac­tion for all our vis­i­tors.

Put your think­ing caps on and see what we can de­vise.

Dale Hell AIR­LIE BEACH Con­grat­u­la­tions

I WOULD just like to con­grat­u­late Wendy Downes, pres­i­dent of the Whit­sun­day Run­ning Club and or­gan­iser of the 2013 in­au­gu­ral Air­lie Beach Run­ning Fes­ti­val (ABRF) as well as her team be­hind the event.

The event was a mas­sive suc­cess in terms of putting bums in beds and driv­ing eco­nomic im­pact for this re­gion. The ABRF was an ex­cel­lent way to join in on the range of events that start the sec­ond half of 2013.

Wendy has been work­ing closely with our team at WMDL and has set prece­dent for fu­ture events by bring­ing many peo­ple from not only within the re­gion, but as far as Ger­many, New Zealand and Florida in the US.

It has been a plea­sure for our team to work with some­one who is so mo­ti­vated and pas­sion­ate to bring this event to fruition and spread that eco­nomic im­pact as far and wide as she could for the ben­e­fit of the whole re­gion.

To have been over­sub­scribed with com­peti­tors in the first year of the event and to hear so many ho­tels were booked with com­peti­tors is a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment and a credit to Wendy and her team. A true em­bod­i­ment of our Events In­no­va­tion Strat­egy which aims for ex­actly those out­comes.

Bring on Au­gust, a huge month of events across the en­tire re­gion!

Da­nial Rochford Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment Ltd. Deep con­cern

I’M WRIT­ING to ex­press my deep con­cern for the pro­posed port ex­pan­sion of Ab­bot Point. Dredg­ing and dump­ing of three mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of spoil in the Great Bar­rier Reef World Her­itage Area is an out­ra­geous propo­si­tion, which com­pletely ig­nores the en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems that have been linked to dredg­ing in Glad­stone.

The silt plume from dump­ing of dredge spoil will af­fect a much larger area than where it is ini­tially dumped. Silt plumes smother sea grass, the pri­mary food source for du­gong and tur­tles, and shel­ter for ju­ve­nile reef fishes.

Ap­prov­ing Ab­bot Point means in­creased ship­ping through the reef, which in­creases the risk of col­li­sions, ground­ings and largescale con­tam­i­na­tion. The reck­less and ir­re­spon­si­ble push to mine all of the coal in Queens­land in the next 50 years will cause un­told dev­as­ta­tion for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

The Great Bar­rier Reef is one of the seven nat­u­ral won­ders of the world. It pro­vides jobs, food, recre­ation, en­ter­tain­ment and cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance to mil­lions of peo­ple. If we look af­ter the reef it can sus­tain jobs for the long term, and will con­tinue gen­er­at­ing bil­lions of dollars for the Queens­land econ­omy. The coal in­dus­try on the other hand, will pro­vide short-term prof­its for for­eign min­ers and a few jobs for the next 10 or 20 years un­til global cli­mate con­cerns make it re­dun­dant, leav­ing Aus­tralia with mas­sive en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion and an im­pov­er­ished pop­u­la­tion. The Great Bar­rier Reef needs pro­tec­tion from short-term greed-driven poli­cies be­ing pushed by for­eign in­ter­ests.

Eric Oliver BRANDY CREEK

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