Tuesday 29 January 2008

Bitter Sweet Douglas' last Australia Day

Douglas Shire Councillor Rod Davis notes the last Douglas Shire citizen of the year.

On the 26th January of 2008, the Douglas Shire celebrated the last Australia Day as its own small community. From next year, there will be no longer be a Douglas Citizen of the Year.

So hearty congratulations to Shirley Vico, our 2008, last citizen of the year. Also congratulations also to Jaidyn Chambers, Julie Salam, Michael Staunton, Rose Coysh and the fabulous Jack Heywood.

The attendance and participation was at an all time high for the last event, and we didn’t miss the opportunity to run through the roll of previous winners, as well as acknowledging many of those who almost won a place, and whose place in future small community awards, thanks to the heartless and to my mind irrational destruction of shire like Douglas and Noosa, will never get aired again.
It was of particular sadness and joy, to bid farewell to the Mayor, of his last formal speech to Douglas, and the standing ovation at the ceremonies end giving tribute to Mike and all the works he has done for this shire will stay with me for some time, and clearly it’s been Mike Berwick that has be the main player in making this shire the way it is for my family and friends over the last 15 years, and to Mike, I salute you.
PS… I also thank you and Jane for your bag of mangostein gifts, they are delicious, in fact I’m going to grab one right now.
But we should also spare a though for the many other mainly rural shires where Beattie and Bligh’s knife have cut out the heart out of communities, homogenizing us into just another data entry on a rates payable spread sheet.
Ironically, Douglas’s last Australia Day also marks, to the day, 200 years ago, the day that Anna Bligh’s great, great, in fact, grate, grate grandfather, Governor Bligh, was removed from his Sydney office. But Anna Bligh got us before we could get her, unlike her mutiny linked forebear.

We over hear of loose talk from Cairns Water workers eyeing off our water supply last week, suggesting its would be cheaper and easier to just chlorinate our water, rather than keep maintaining the filters. And to the large minority who passionately oppose fluoridation, like myself, we just shake our heads in dismay that Cairns Water would even have the audacity to mention chlorination. Bear in mind, every man, woman and child in this shire, have each recently contributed a $1000/head to give us the cleanest, and most chemical free water in Australia, some say the cleanest water on earth. I’m nervous.
We also shake our head in dismay as the Cairns Branch of the Urban Development Institute talk up their future in Douglas as they look forward to the removal of the obstacle to their development intents, by getting rid of the Douglas Shire.
When the predominant political party in Cairns is funded by the development industry, you would have to be concerned. Just last week, the development site being used by the Unity Team billboard saw more steps made towards opening up more ‘business as usual’, big urban development, with not a word of credibility given to what smells like a need for a material (or at least perceived) personal interest declaration .
It’s outrageous, that councilors can use developers funds to pay for their adverting campaigns, and still be immune from declaring a, ‘material personal interest’ when it comes to voting up their supporting developers applications. This law stinks, but neither the gutless ALP or the equally gutless Coalition government will do the right thing, like the Canadians, ands restrict funding from development and other ‘stand to gain’ groups, as both the ALP and the Coalition are as guilty as hell when it comes to using corporate interests to fund their elections, pretending, like AWB executives, that these donations do not influence the way they vote. Yeah, right.
Welcome to bigger government, the one where corporate types all agree, we in the west, have the best democracy money can buy.
So you might excuse Douglas for tasting both the bitter and the sweet aspects of Australia Day just gone by.

Personally, the reason why I came here, was to be a part of a small, connected community, not city, especially not just a regional city. I have had a life of city living. My kids and I benefited immensely by the shift out of city, and with it, the caring connectedness of a small compassionate community, where we all look after each other, seen at its best when one of us, or our kids gets a cancer scare: just look at all the work, the raffles, do’s, and face to face help this community gives its fallen, and when it comes to recognition and celebration of these community achievements, even if only in an old fashioned, local of government kinda way, its is nonetheless a huge loss that our community is being disbanded to become part of a city 60k south of us, and with it, the recognition of community service.

I could almost feel the burn of anger directed between the shoulder blades of local member Jason OBrien, as he sat in the crowd at the last Australia Day event, pretending all was fine and dandy, when it was he and his government that took the knife to this and many other small rural communities, where the council is the focus of matters communal and civic.

Jason can cite the last atrocious week gone by, where yet again the ‘gang’ in the Douglas Shire Council displayed their appalling vendetta politics, bathed in alcoholism, ignorance and manipulated agendas. Jason could fairly argue that Douglas would be well and truly better off without this kind of governance and he would be right. Where he would be wrong, would be in the suggestion that the Douglas voters would not have sorted out a revenge voting of their own, had the State given our resident’s a vote for a new Douglas council in a few weeks.

Chlorination, fluoridation, amalgamation added together almost spells obliteration, in the twisted game of scrabble that is the Beattie Bligh government’s gift to this community.

I’m saddened, yes, but I’m noisy and determined, and I still believe in all the same things that attracted me here in the first place, and like many of the other candidates in the election, many whom I really like and respect, I’m in this election business to fight for the people in Douglas, and its nearby Palm Cove/Clifton, to keep our communities connected, compassionate and caring, caring for each other’s business success, yes, but not at the price of a degrading our environment into a dull urban sprawl.

Would Cairns care about the big M mounting Macrossan? I doubt it. Hey, what is wrong with fast food, I hear them say. Would Cairns care for clean water? I understand its and fluoride and maybe even chlorine coming our way, care of you loving ‘livable’ neighboring city. Drink it Freddy, it’s good for you.

So anyway, win or loose this election, I have a passionate view, and I’m willing to defend my community, and if you are wondering, what exactly are my views, well, there are 120 pages of the most detailed policy and perspective available from any candidate, from any of those index links, just to the left of your eyes’ current focus.

I wish me fellow candidates well. Get well Melinda, I love your spirit. To Bill Phillips-Turner, hold close to your heart those things that you enjoyed as boy growing up in Douglas, and good luck, you will do well. To Julia, go girl, your are a friend to many, and a lovely human. And best wishes to Dave and George, despite you attacks on me last week, you are forgiven.
We as a community have so much at stake ahead, and yes. I’m nervous about the future, but
I’m also determined to add what ever I can to the debate, that will keep this community shinny, prosperous and different.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fluoride is bad! Good to see we don't have it in our Cairns water :D But the government wants to change this and add it in to our water supply. Thank goodness for reverse osmosis water filters which get rid of fluoride and other toxic and unhealthy things.

Inform yourself!