Letters to the editor

Water filtration, mass evacuations and political trust ...

The current turbidity in Nambucca Shire water is fixable with filtration. This problem was recognised by the council a few years ago but to date has not been addressed so now we have the problem.

Nambucca Shire's water treatment manager, Mr Spain, indicated that a reverse osmosis system would cost tens of millions of dollars with high ongoing operation costs.

There are however numerous much cheaper systems.

The Sydney Water system of pH adjustment, flocculation, and sand filtration or the Bathurst Council systems of pH adjustment, flocculation and settling come to mind.

Perhaps council should consider one of these cheaper alternatives. These systems will also remove any turbidity caused by the dam's clay seal.

John Porteus, Scotts Head

Australian Disaster: before, during, after

After monitoring the catastrophic fires in NSW for the last three months for family members in the paths of destruction, I have come to realise we need to improve our disaster management for the future of our society.

I worked in emergency services agencies and the police force for over 20 years (now retired due to injuries sustained during 2001 bush fires) and throughout my basic disaster management training and field experience, I felt that Australia had no appropriate plans, resources or capabilities to manage a mass evacuation as happened recently on the NSW South Coast.

A check of LiveTraffic made me cringe and feel sorry for the thousands of cars evacuating the area.

How were those masses of people going to sleep, feed the kids, change nappies, find toilets, get water, food and other essentials for a couple of nights not to mention travelling with animals?

There was clearly no preparation for these and numerous other needs for human survival when stranded in a mass evacuation situation.

This was a real ordeal for thousands of people stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, crawling along the road for 24 to 48 hours.

This was not like the movies where the disaster is over in a couple of hours with the hero saving humanity. They never show how the mass evacuations out of a city cope or manage to survive! WE WERE NOT PREPARED!

During all my years experience this issue of planning for mass evacuations has remained in the "don't talk about it" basket!

George Micolich, Nambucca Heads

Irksome, political behaviour

We live in a high trust society. We trust others to behave ethically. We trust others not to lie, cheat or steal. This high level of trust is essential to have a civil society that is fair and honest. We are understandably upset when people break this trust.

Our trust levels have been challenged over recent years. The big banks have been shown to charge fees for no service and to knowingly sell products that disadvantage people. Many large employers have been revealed as not paying their staff correctly. I could go on.

What is particularly irksome is when politicians deliberately use our tax money to fund their election campaigns in a process known as pork-barrelling. I refer, of course, to the Deputy Nationals leader Senator Bridget McKenzie and her blatant use of sports grants to target marginal electorates.

An independent Auditor General review found that she overrode the merit based allocation, by Sports Australia, in order to curry electoral favour. A former high court judge described her practice as corrupt.

The fact is that organisations and community groups who deserved funding for their projects, but who were in safe seats, largely missed out on these grants.

The National Party, true to form, refuses to admit wrong doing, refuses to apologise, and deflects blame elsewhere. They operate with impunity in the belief that they will suffer no consequences from this breach of trust.

So, what lessons can we learn from this? It seems that, if this is the game and the rules, the only way that the rest of us can benefit is to make our electorates marginal. Vote against the sitting member. If you are in a safe seat you will be taken for granted otherwise.

The alternative would be to change the rules so that this egregious behaviour has real consequences. I won't hold my breath with this government.

Dr Peter Sobey, Valla

Book Club for Over 55s

It has come to my notice that Probus in Macksville is to cease after March this year. It is my suggestion that those members interested may like to form a book club and perhaps meet at the same venue.

The club would be open to anyone interested in reading and unlike many book clubs where the same book is read by all members and discussed, there would be different books read by members ....a way of sharing books you have enjoyed and swapping them with others. I am willing to help launch this in March - is there anyone interested? Contact trishquinn9@bigpond.com

Trish Quinn

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