Archive for the 'Comments and questions' Category

Speedy Sue or Snail Sue

October 14th, 2010

I can’t sign the Fraser Coast Chronicle Road Safety pledge as I would be lying! I can’t sign it because I sometimes speed. There I have confessed. Sometimes I drive at speeds in excess of the posted limit and sometimes I drive slower than allowed. I reckon numbers 4 and 5 are contradictory somewhat as some speed limits are just too low. And we should ALWAYS be driving to the conditions which I think means sometimes it is safer to go SLIGHTLY faster than the posted limit on some roads at some times.
Take Saltwater Creek Rd for instance. 4 Lanes and a big huge wide road and we have to travel at 60kmh whereas I think 70kmh would be perfectly safe. Similarly the new stretch of widened (4 separated lanes) Boat Harbour Drive from Bunnings down to past Banksia I think 70kmh is fine there also but in residential areas the speed should be a carte blanche of 50kmh, or slower to even 25kmh which I have no trouble at all sticking to. How about the Burrum Heads Rd past Toogoom? That road is fine to go up to 110kmh on I believe but at Criagnish where the shop is it should be down to 80kmh.
In Darwin I lived for nearly 5 years and never ever received a speeding ticket. That is because the roads are designed well and signed well for sensible speeds. All linking main roads are 70kmh and all residential roads are 50kmh I recall. Makes sense and the traffic flows which much less agro etc and I believe there is much LESS speeding. I also hate doing 90kmh on the Bruce Highway now past Gympie. Honestly all the roads to the Sunshine Coast off the highway are 100kmh and are in no better condition than the highway. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to make everyone go slower when it is raining and/or foggy for instance as that is when we should all be slowing down?
I do think some speed limits are done so the police can revenus raise and what a waste of time for a highly trained police person to be sitting pointing a speed gun at us!
But please don’t think I am supportive of anyone excessively speeding anytime anywhere as I’m not. Stupid high speeds and stupid overtaking are just that… simply stupid and dangerous, and so sadly sometimes fatally dangerous, to all road users. Please take care each time you hop into that car. Safe driving, Sue

Something Fishy!

August 16th, 2010

I received this comment posted below after some personal email activity.  Fishing is a good topic to generate comment it seems and certainly gets the blood boiling in some people. I decided to pop the comment under this post as I thought the topic worthy of a separate thread to the general news of my last post.

So to fishing. I strongly, firmly and entirely believe that there is room in our oceans and freshwater ways for fishing. I believe that the oceans (and rivers and streams etc) can’t produce more than a certain finite number of fish as the size and conditions of the oceans/waterways limits the ability to produce an increasing number of fish by natural means.

I believe that the human population is growing rapidly and also our ability to catch fish has become more sophisticated so we are much more efficient hunters. That means we now can catch much more fish than in the past. And by the past I mean as recently ago as my own childhood.

As a result of these two points I believe that some areas of our oceans and rivers and waterways should be protected and kept free of fishing. All other areas free for fishing, should be monitored to ensure that fish numbers stay viable. Any areas chosen to be set aside as no fish zones should be selected as a result of good scientific evidence based research. I have no idea how many or big or small these areas should be but they need to be located with the intent to preserve fish and natural ocean or marine habitat. Benthic etc.

I believe if we treat our waterways like our land and have National Parks in the sea (Marine Parks) this will be a good thing for the future health of our planet and be of benefit to those generations that will come after us. How these are selected and managed however is important.

I don’t believe all modern/recent decisions in relation to our waterways are sensible and that some rules and regulations that have evolved over time are faulty in application and enforcement.

I also don’t believe any political party has the totally right formula finalised in relation to protecting our natural environment while preserving our economy and caring for a country that welcomes a free thinking, democratic abiding and humane way of life. So next Saturday I will be voting for the person or party that demonstrates the best overall attempt at doing just that and I won’t be making my decision on one issue or on scare tactic type advertising. After listening to the Family First candidate however I can assure everyone FF will be way down the bottom of my ballot paper!

So over to you and the great fishing debate. Cheers, Sue

Circus Animals

July 25th, 2010

I’m continually amazed at the reach of the internet these days as I have received numerous responses in response to the media coverage of the anti circus animals discussion that we have had in Council recently. The responses have come from as far away as India!

Briefly.. Council received a request from the RSPCA to consider banning circuses that use exotic animals to perform and Council has considered this proposal twice. The first time we discussed the request we asked that the LGAQ take the issue to the State to try and resolve the issue at the State level but we also asked for a definition of what was meant by the word exotic. During the debate in Council I felt that not all Councillors thought banning circuses that use exotic animals was supported although many questions were asked. The second follow up report dealt with options to Councillors including a suggested group of animals to be banned. The animals included lions, tigers, elephants and monkeys as I recall. The term exotic animal actually refers to animals not native to Australia so many dog and bird breeds etc could be called exotic.

I moved that we accept the report after clarifying that the way to actually ban circus animals was by way of a Local Law. As Council is rapidly approaching the time to adopt new Local Laws I felt that this process would give the community the option to have ‘their say’ and this is what will now happen.

Personally I believe no animal should be used purely for human entertainment. I don’t enjoy watching an animal perform for people and although I think that the polar bears at Seaworld and the dolphins there are very well cared for I don’t place them in the same category as circus animals. Zoos and places that house animals like Seaworld and Dreamworld are now very aware of the emotional and social needs of the animals under their care and cater for these needs. They also ensure the animals receive appropriate health care and good nutrition and undertake carefully managed breeding programmes. I am quite certain that circus animals receive that same level of care.

Now I’m talking about lions, tigers and elephants rather than dogs or little piglets etc but I prefer to be entertained by clever performers of the human variety when I pay to go to a circus and Circus Oz and Cirque du Soliel are excellent examples of this type of entertainment. I don’t like rodeos or bull fighting either but I acknowledge that not everyone shares my views. I recently spoke to a woman who works near the Sunshine Coast in an office that overlooks a paddock. Some time ago a circus came to town and the paddock became the home of the circus elephant. The woma said she was nearly at the point of taking leave as it saddened her so much to have to watch the elephant chained up and swaying from side to side all day long. This woman did not think this particular solitary elephant was a contented and happy elephant!

So it is over to you the community. Please do have your say and when the new Local Laws come out for public consultation do use your voice and let Council know what you think. I expect that the Laws will be available for comment later this year. I hope that our community supports a ban on the few circuses left in Australia that use animals to boost their income. Children should see animals in a more natural environment not jumping through hoops in my opinion!

Winds of change, Pier Kiosk and the Shen Neng 1

May 8th, 2010

This week Council has decided to try a committee based structure instead of the portfolio system which has operated for the last two years.  The Council will trial a three-committee structure for 12 months.
The Committees include –
•Development and Community Services Standing Committee chaired by Councillor Barbara Hovard;
•Infrastructure and Environment Services Standing Committee chaired by Councillor Linda Harris;
•Strategic and Organisational Services Standing Committee chaired by Gerard O’Connell.
All Councillors will be members of each of the Standing Committees.
•The Infrastructure and Environment Services Standing Committee will meet on the first Wednesday of each month in Hervey Bay;
•The Strategic and Organisational Services Standing Committee will meet on the third Wednesday of each month in Maryborough;
•The Development and Community Services Standing Committee will meet directly after the Council’s Ordinary Meetings on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

I was nominated to Chair the Infrastructure and Environment Committee but Cr Harris received more votes so is Chair and Cr Hawes was nominated for the Strategic and Organisational Services Committee but was beaten by Cr O’Connell. The interesting situation is that the three Committee chairs and the Deputy Mayor all hail from either Maryborough or Tiaro. Maybe this new structure will help bring us together as a region and reduce the negativity against Hervey Bay, evident within some corners of our community. I support this new structure as it makes the Council decision making processes much more open and accountable and ensures that Councillors have the opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them and to the community.

I was also pleased to move the motion that was unanimously supported to expand the Hervey Bay Library by building a straightforward simply designed Gallery across the road. The new 700 square metre building for the gallery will be built on Old Maryborough Road. The Council has allocated $200,000 in its 2009/2010 budget and is proposing to allocate a further $3,250,000 in its 2010/2011 budget to finance internal refurbishment works in the Hervey Bay Library and to design and build the new Regional Gallery. These funds have been carried over from the old Hervey Bay City Council which had planned to extend the Library prior to amalgamation. The Council has also applied for $1.6 million from the Federal Government’s RLCIP funding program for the gallery. USQ will continue to share the library facilities. I attended the quilt and wallpaper exhibition openings last night at our current gallery and highly recommend that you pop in and view these marvellous creations.

Pier kiosk investigation
I finally decided to put a motion to Council this week to investigate this kiosk idea and was pleased that the concept was supported by almost everyone and investigations will go ahead. I believe a small kiosk designed to complement the heritage qualities of the pier could increase pier use and reduce bad behaviour on the pier. It could also provide an income stream for Council to assist with pier maintenance. Your ideas on this proposal will be important also to see if it progresses into a reality. Current and potential operators would be able to express interest and to eventually tender for rights to construct and operate the kiosk.

Lastly about the blow in. There has been much fuss about the Shen Neng1 coming to our waters. I am not fussing. This big boat has to be put somewhere. North of us is the GBR and South of us Moreton Bay. The Government has a problem and is doing its very best to solve the problem. I am very confident that the Government agencies are aware of the ocean bottom structure, (sand not coral or seagrass) and sea currents (they go North not South) and have chosen the location here as the least likely to cause environmental problems for the unloading of coal. The whales aren’t here in numbers yet and they know how to avoid moving ships let alone stationary ones. Yes there is a risk to the environment but that risk is great no matter where the boat is put. I’m not going to join in the clamour to relocate the ship elsewhere. The sooner the ship is unloaded and lightened and on its way away from us the better I believe.

Lastly I wish all mum’s a great mothers day. Enjoy your day and I wish you good health and happiness, Sue

Greed is bad so why not a greed tax?

May 3rd, 2010

Thank goodness for a long weekend practically free of Council related events etc. I think I’m nearly caught up with all things work related and even spent all day yesterday without turning on this PC or looking at my Blackberry more than once! Well twice really for the Bberry but even that little clever electronic bag of tricks was having a rest it seems.

It has been refreshing to get out into the garden and mow, weed and clean. Believe it or not I pressure washed the entire drive way over the last two days. I usually just do the outside sliding doors and windows but as Graham decided to clean the gutters (badly needed as they were merrily growing mini trees and things), I pressure washed them to clean the yuck off and one thing led to another so we actually now have an exposed aggregate driveway again rather than a black and slippery ugly looking thing. I do like pressure washers as they don’t use much water and really clean things quickly. I have give up the noisy blower thingy to preserve power and improve my fitness ( I sweep the old fashioned way) but I think the pressure washer is here to stay.

But today was back to the grind stone also as I had to read the board papers for our BMRG Board Meeting in Bundy tomorrow and the Council agenda for Wednesday.

So to the news. Lots ado about Henry and tax and about Council doing wrong by the SES some time back. I will ask questions about the SES issue so won’t comment further till I have some more facts but as I mowed and pressure washed I started thinking about tax and laws and government etc.

It seems that everywhere I go I hear people wanting their Governments to do more and more but they want to pay less and less. How do we resolve this issue? Locally people want more roads fixed and sealed, more footpaths and bikeways built, more drains fixed, more grass mowed, more money spent on economic activities and touristy stuff. We need a medical centre in Tiaro a conference / entertainment venue in the Bay and security cameras everywhere and … need I go on. At the same time I get asked to please not raise rates, to not levy infrastructure charges on developments and to keep fees and charges down as no one has enough money and the little that they do have they don’t want to give to Government.

So the real question for me, and I’m asking for comment please, is how do we decide what each layer of government should actually do and how do we fund it? I believe we have so much waste via duplication through the different layers of Government that one layer should go. Another thing I believe is that we need to really examine our health services and decide what we should spend money on. .  But I will debate this entire topic more fully over the coming weeks as I want to write more about it than will fit here.

I would like to end this post however with this idea. Greed is the problem that needs addressing most of all in our society. The BER and insulation schemes designed to be of benefit to us, failed primarily due to greed. People decided to ‘rort’ the system and make a quick profit. Opportunistic GREEDY people dived in and exposed glaring loopholes in the process for insulation installation and building buildings in some schools.

We complain about our consumer driven materialistic society as if it is a bad thing. Is it really a bad thing to want the latest invention which might be a new plasma TV? I don’t believe so. There is nothing wrong with consuming goods and services in fact our economy depends on us doing just that. What is wrong is when companies and organisations use our need to consume to make insane profits by exploiting overseas workers etc. I detest greed and I want my Government to tax greed. Expand the new mining ‘big profit’ tax and make it much harder for greedy people and greedy companies to be greedy! Everyone should be able to make a profit but that profit should be a  reasonable one.  How good would that be?

Budget question time

April 8th, 2010

Just a quick question. When you consider all that Council does from roads to drains, to parks to community services eg libraries and galleries and events and tourism and economic related activities could I pose a quick question. Not forgetting we need staff to provide the services to all of us and a HR dept and and IT dept etc could I ask you to tell me how you would like us to prioritise our spending.

To put it simply. If you have $100 how much of that $100 do you want to see used in which areas? How much on roads, how much on our coast, our community services etc?

Here is an example of one persons ideas..

On salary increase and perks for employees at all levels from

Mayor to street sweeper               $0.00

 On fun parks, water worlds, and ‘tourist attractions’ –               $0.00

(If commercial operators want to attract tourists let them

spend their own dollars not ours.)

 On new better or improved buildings for council meetings          $0.00

 On improving existing drainage, sewerage, and water                             $10.00

 On improvements and maintenance of existing roads                 $20.00

 On provision of footpaths in established areas                          $20.00

 On provision of a better bus service including destinations

Apart from shopping centres during out of shopping hours

And by way of ‘Kango’style door to door flexible service            $5.00

Wherever appropriate.

 On improving parks, libraries, and other existing services           $5.00

 On wages, overheads, and anything I forgot, the remaining       $50.00

  

$100.00

No contribution by ratepayers to the infrastructure costs

Of commercial undertakings and as little as possible to

New subdivisions.   Let those standing to make profit

Fund the costs of so doing. If they go elsewhere, good.

 No, Karl Marx was no relative.   Just see no reason why

The poor old taxpayer should support developers of

Any kind.  “Creating employment” is the province of

Employers, not taxpayers.  Nor legislators and governments

At any level.

The Burning Issue

August 18th, 2009

The burning issue. Can I reassure readers, that my comments about fires and the impact of ‘burning off’ quoted in the Fraser Coast Chronicle yesterday, were made in relation to natural areas not urban areas. Many Whitsunday Islands and National Parks ie World Heritage Fraser Island, are burned where there is no risk to human life and property. I do acknowledge that some burning is necessary to provide fire breaks and reduce the threat of fire around urban development. I have seen photographs however that clearly demonstrate that the level of undergrowth and litter is greater in areas that have been regularly burned than in areas left alone. Aboriginal people were very clever and used fire as a tool to improve their lives. There is much debate about the impact that this burning has had on our natural environment over time. I’m just not convinced that regularly burning huge tracts of natural habitat is ‘good for it’.

Donations and corruption.

August 3rd, 2009

Is it possible to donate to an individual or political party and not cast a seed of doubt about what is expected in return? I personally do not think so. Our political system is heavily geared towards a donation culture. It continues to amaze me that politicians from all levels of government, can accept donations and honestly believe that doing so does not find them obligated in any way to the donor. If donations are to remain an aspect of our political system, and I believe that they shouldn’t, then donations should be anonymous. Any other means of providing financial or other support to a particular candidate or political party, in my opinion, smacks of potential conflicts of interest.

Why is it acceptable that mums and dads want to be able to support the party of their choice by donating a small amount of money but an organisation donating bucket loads of cash is not welcomed? In other words to be consistent we need to either set up a system where donations can be done anonymously or, my preferred solution, make elections a set process with a limited advertising budget funded by the tax payer. If all candidates were regulated so that they all received equal advertising space and/or time, wouldn’t the electorate be much more able to make a choice based on qualities other than how wealthy the candidate or political party is?

Lastly I abhor corruption, dishonesty and lies. I think that all layers of Government in this country are very heavily developer and big business influenced. It seems that the ‘bigger is better’ and ‘greed is good’ culture is alive and well in Australia. Many, many small business owners are content to quietly and without fuss, do a hard days work for a decent annual income but big business and developers often want more and more and more. More business and more development. Not to benefit the community but to make more profit for a select few! It is time we acknowledged that growth is not necessary to develop a healthy economically rich and culturally diverse country, and that pandering to a select few is not actually what the majority of residents want from our political leaders. From personal experience the most intense lobbying that I receive, is from developer related interests.

Over to you…

Crime and Punishment

June 14th, 2009

Yet another story about people being stabbed in unprovoked attacks and a debate about Tasers. It makes me think that our approach to crime is becoming ineffective. Our society only has two options for people who misbehave being either a financial penalty (fine) or denying personal freedom by locking people away in jail. Maybe it is time to question how successful these strategies are.

Many people who break the laws of this land seem to me, as reported via the media, to ‘get off lightly’. I am sad that the man who possibly murdered his new wife while scuba diving has not faced a trial. If  ‘the time’ no longer fits ‘the crime’ then how do we manage?

I am constantly asked by residents that we should ‘get tough’ on wrong doers. Make more and more laws to punish more and more people but what isn’t discussed is the appropriate punishment for wrong doing. In some countries physical violence is still the accepted means of punishment. Does this system work better than ours? Has social humiliation as used to happen in smaller communities ceased to be effective? Are wrong doers actually publicly humiliated anymore?

What do we do when the jails are full, the people who are fined don’t pay up and crime rates continue to rise? Personally I want the debate. I want us to ask what do we do with those who assault our neighbours or who wreck our property? A slap on the wrist certainly isn’t an effective deterrant.

I’m also sick and tired of the excuse about poor family upbringing. Often used to support the wrong doer. Many people have come from poor family backgrounds but they don’t go on to choose a life of crime. Saying that a poor upbringing is justification for someones bad behaviour is not my idea of a good excuse. Violent bad behaviour just cannot be tolerated but what are we going to do to stop it?

PS Tasers are a good thing. Police just have to be careful that they don’t use them when not justified. I long for the old days when the local cop could give the young naughty kids a good kick up the bum and teach them a lesson. I wonder how many of these kids grew up either scarred or bad?

What do you think?

June 8th, 2009

I come across many topics and think about many issues in my encounters with people and when reading the newspaper or web and when watching and listening to TV. So I was thinking I would start to explore some of my ponderings with you.

On Friday morning I had the great pleasure of presenting the Mayoral Environment Awards. Successful recipients included the Fraser Coast Anglican College for the schools award and the Environmentalist of the year award went to Vicki Neville. Vicki campaigns tirelessly to protect our humpback whales and her efforts have resulted in International recognition of our whales and the importance of watching them rather than hunting them. All participants are to be congratulated on their work and the effort put into their nominations. They were all deserving of a prize.

On Sunday however I participated in the World Environment Day and Reconciliation Week celebrations at Dayman Park.  The theme of the day was

PROTECT OUR DUGONG YUWANG’KAN

Traditional Torres Strait Islander storytelling about a Dugong’s epic journey was one of the highlights of the day and there were many displays by conservation groups, free face painting, and live entertainment. But the highlight was provided by volunteers, ably led by Jorge Pujol, who helped create a 50 metre long Dugong mother and calf using 4,000 candles. When the candles were lit at sunset the sight was stunning. I ended my speech with these words.

“Today we celebrate these beautiful dugongs. I think they are very cute and beautiful and not ugly at all! In this time of plenty with abundant human food available at every supermarket, corner store and fast food shop, I ask that everyone, every single person, each and every one of us that lives or visits the Fraser Coast, refrain from hurting these harmless cows of the sea. Every single one of us can make that commitment that we will protect our Fraser Coast dugongs. The entire world has recognised the important natural environment that we have here by way of a World Heritage listing, a Ramsar listing and now a successful Biosphere nomination. If the whole world can recognise the importance of protecting this, our very own backyard, then let us all, every one of us from original custodians to our most recent settler, care for and protect our beautiful, harmless dugongs!”

I believe that these creatures should be protected from all hunting by everyone in our region. Although traditional hunting by aboriginal people is still permitted, it is apparent that there is no need to hunt dugong (or sea turtle) in our present time. I look forward to the day when all endangered species are protected and nutured so that our childrens children inherit a world where dugongs still peacefully forage.

For a comprehensive article about the dugong visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dugong

sue-brooks0001

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