Letters to the editor 29th November, 2017

Early votes: Party volunteers hand out at pre-polling in Armidale. Photo: Rachel Baxter
Early votes: Party volunteers hand out at pre-polling in Armidale. Photo: Rachel Baxter

Captain Thunderbolt

I noted with weary disinterest that somebody reckons “Captain Thunderbolt never died in Uralla”, (Armidale Express: 24/11/17).

Well, I reckon some people need to google the words, “hearsay”, “hysteria”, and “history”.

The irrefutable documented history of “Thunderbolt” (Fred Ward), is that he was shot dead on 25 May, 1870, near Uralla, the township where his colourful bushranging career had begun in 1863.

Although we are somewhat reluctantly willing to share, his story belongs to Uralla, not Armidale. Thunderbolt rarely set foot in Armidale. This tradition is still upheld by some Uralla folk, who only venture there for its shopping emporia, hospitals and finally, and as a last resort, the funeral facility.

As for the claim, “he faked his death and fled to America”, I have it on excellent authority that this is definitely not the case. In the pub, I got chatting to an expert, a visitor from the USA, who refuted that “America” story. Nice fella, by the name of Elvis.

Kent Mayo, Uralla

New England by-election

There was a lot of talk at the last election about the importance of having a parliamentary representative who was “sitting at the top table”. Well, we had such a person for a while, and together with the others at “the top table” he gutted the schools’ funding for this region.

Of the ten poorest postcodes in the whole of Australia, five are in New England. The original Gonski needs-based funding was starting to improve the opportunities for thousands of local children in our electorate. You can ask any teacher.

But I can only assume that our former member doesn’t talk to teachers, or visit public schools. This may be why he voted to cut $26 million of future Gonski funding to schools in our electorate.

Imagine how much better our children and our community would be a few years from now with the full Gonski funding.  Surely we all want a better and fairer world? This is in our hands, right now, as voters.

Barbara Finch, Armidale

On Saturday, 2nd December we have to make a choice. Do we reinstall Barnaby or install someone else who will speak for all the community? Such a man is Armidale’s Rob Taber who is standing as an independent. His website policies disclose he has a broad grasp of the needs of the people. Re the environment, he supports banning coal seam gas or mineral mining on arable land or where our artesian aquifer or unique forest areas will be adversely affected. He’ll push for meaningful R & D in alternative energies with a view to the overall solution to the issues of global warming and climate change. He wants increased rigour on oversight of our waterways, water allocation and usage and establish timely and complete public disclosure of regulatory policing data. 

He’ll push for the establishment of a policy outlining a sensible Federal Future Energy Policy. Re education, he supports the philosophy of the Gonski Educational Reform, thinks it would provide an essential step into developing Australia as a world leader in education. 

He believes the University of New England deserves support in order to become a major tertiary education facility in New South Wales. He believes rail is a necessity for Australia, we should be investigating all avenues for building rail and future proofing rail networks. Building rail infrastructure will reduce the number of truck trips between the major cities. 

He questions the building of the second Sydney airport at Badgery’s Creek as opposed to investigating an international airport in the central west, e.g. Orange - Parkes area and link to Sydney via high speed rail. This would be a huge step forward in assisting the growth of regional NSW. 

Re agriculture, he believes we should begin to aid the growth of the agricultural industry through stronger support and removing red tape as it affects agricultural production enabling us to better compete against imported produce from low cost countries. We should give farmers more control over the rights to their land particularly in the event of pressure from the oil, gas and mining industries. He would seek to promote the establishment of a Government owned bank for rural purposes, a Rural Bank’.

Re health, he sees the lack of funding cripples the development of much needed regional health infrastructure. He wants more affordable healthcare and reduce the travel time for those who require immediate medical help. He’d push for greater recognition of mental health in the healthcare system and more funding and support to service our growing future needs. 

Re finance, he’d push to investigate issues of equality relating to the distribution of GST revenue, ensuring rural communities receive their equal share. He’d encourage states to distribute income in a fair and equitable manner, ensuring that monies collected from taxes is returned, in part, to the regions from whence they came.He’d allow superannuation funds to be utilised by first home buyers, knowing that the money must be returned to the superfund in full if the house is sold. 

He wants superannuation funds be required by law to invest a proportion of revenue back into the community from which it was sourced. He’d also push for legislation that ensured all companies operating within Australia pay their legal share of tax.

Re youth, he’d encourage higher volumes of people to consider opportunities in trades and rally behind organisations like Backtrack and Pathfinders who assist disadvantaged youth into work and provide advice that directs people into employment that suits their lifestyle and skill set. He’d push for youth in remote areas to receive better access to higher education coupled with increased financial support.

Warren Brown, Inverell