IT'S ALL ADDING UP
Thanks Michelle Cheers (Letters, The Area News, June 7) for enlightening me of which generation I belong to. I was always confused as to which one, as I was born two weeks after the cessation of World War II.
My husband was born two weeks before World War II was declared in 1939. He is the 'traditional' and 'silent' type. Me, I'm the talkative one and spent many times in the classroom corner. Just ask some of my peers from the 1950 to 1960 intake at Griffith Public and High Schools!
Gloria Velleley, Belrose
AN UNBUNDLED MESS
When water was separated from the land it was divided into two parts water entitlements (WEs) and delivery entitlements (DEs). The WEs became a tradable commodity and no longer attached to land.
DEs stayed with land to allow farmers the ability to access the channel system to acquire water. Sounds good in theory, well maybe to irrigation companies and the government. The irony is farmers have to pay 100 per cent charges of DEs without insurance to secure a drop of water to grow food or fibre for the Australian economy.
Today, as we fight to survive, support families, pay bills and manage mental health, irrigation farmers again are faced with another dry year and having to pay for water that they can't secure. Meanwhile, our fellow countrymen in the state we call South Australia have allocation and have the ability this year, to produce and sell agricultural production taking advantage of high commodity prices.
Wouldn't you agree that Australian towns running out of drinking water is something that is unheard of in our country, we call lucky? We only hear this happening in third-world countries and yet we continue to flush 2000 gigalitres out to sea each year. So are we "the lucky country" or simply "the laughing stock of the world"?
The Murray Darling Basin Plan was set-up under the Water Act 2007 to bring back the basin to a healthier and sustainable level, whilst supporting farming for the benefit of all Australians.
What it has achieved?
High water trade prices untouchable for farmers produce food, fish kills in the Darling, flooding of landholders due to over bank flows in the Murray to send water to SA, bank erosion and putrefaction of the Murray, job losses and a fight just to get a drink of clean water. Is this a "legitimate objective" and "just terms" for "encroachment on vested property rights"?
So let's go back to the Australian Constitution section 100, "the Commonwealth shall not, by any law or regulation of trade or commerce, abridge the right of a state or of the residents therein to the reasonable use of the waters of rivers for conservation or irrigation".
So why is our governments getting away with this unbundled mess?
Tanya Ginns, Murrami
SOLUTIONS ARE NEEDED
The report on the front page of The Area News on May 27 was a fair report of the Griffith branch of the NSW Teachers' Federation Association meeting open May 23. It was also gratifying to hear Helen Dalton, MLA, talk about schools and her take on the impacts of the merger. At the same time it was also distressing to hear young teachers, at least one of them in their first year of teaching, stating that they would not recommend Griffith to their friends as a location to teach in, partly because of the high schools merger debacle but also because of the lack of incentives for teachers to teach in Griffith schools and the ludicrous comparison between the valuable incentives offered in a number of schools within a 60 kilometre radius of Griffith.
The community might be surprised to learn that teachers in Griffith primary and high schools are on the lowest scale (two) when it comes to "transfer points" while teachers in nearby schools are on four or even six points. These transfer points, accumulated annually, give teachers in other district schools twice or three times the opportunity to transfer after a few years to so-called "more favoured" areas of the state. Griffith teachers are completely dudded and it has been within the hands of consecutive NSW governments to correct this stupidity at the stroke of a minister's pen, even that of Adrian Piccoli, our former local member and Minister for Education. All a government "that listens to the people" had to do was change Griffith's points to four or six at any of the previous half dozen salary case discussions over past decades. Some teachers in schools in the Griffith area also get significant salary bonuses that teachers in Griffith don't get.
Helen mentioned that the Teachers' Federation rep's preferred solution to the merger debacle was a "collegiate" arrangement. To my knowledge this is definitely not the preference of local teachers or the Griffith community. It was tried in Dubbo and failed. It was never included in the so-called "options" that Adrian Piccoli offered and which he never stuck to, instead coming up with the schemozzle we have now. It would be sad to see the public school kids and parents of Griffith put through another experiment on top of the one we have now. The other idea thrown into the mix, of each school having its own principal as well as the "executive principal" makes absolutely no sense. This would simply return us to the pre-merger days but with a principal being paid over $200,000 to oversee them. For what demonstrable purpose?
If Gladys Berejiklian and her new education minister are truly listening to the people of Griffith they should immediately announce that the schools are being demerged with no loss of funding and with compensation paid to Griffith parents for uniforms and similar costs. And Griffith teachers should be immediately allocated the same transfer points that nearby schools get. Failing to listen to the Griffith community would be a shame.