I am writing in relation to your article of December 1, 2015 entitled “Wagga solicitor urges whole-of-community approach to tackle Indigenous crime wave”.
As Mayor of the Moree Plains Shire, I am absolutely appalled at Graham Burmeister’s statement “You have to ask yourself why in racist towns like Narrandera and Moree, where Aboriginal people have been treated like pigs, they have these crime problems”.
I would love to know how Mr Burmeister has arrived at his conclusions in relation to Moree. Does he live here? Work here? Run a business here?
I am Moree born-and-bred and have had the honour as serving as the mayor of this wonderful shire for eight years now so I think I can speak with some authority about Moree.
This year (2015) marked the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Ride.
As part of these commemorations, members of our Aboriginal community openly commented on how Moree had come a long way since 1965, with our Aboriginal kids staying in school, with high numbers graduating from year 12, leading to kids gaining employment.
At council, 50 per cent of our school-based trainees identify as Aboriginal and we have the highest level of Aboriginal employment in local government in NSW.
We have also established (in 1995) the Dhiiyaan Aboriginal Centre to document, preserve and protect Aboriginal information and objects of significance to present and future generations.
Eighteen months ago, we launched Moree’s Reconciliation Action Plan in collaboration with Moree’s Reconciliation Group and more recently, we won “Council of the Year” from the Local Government Aboriginal Networking Conference.
We have successfully secured substantial grant funding (in excess of $6 million) for three major projects which will directly benefit our communities and in particular, our indigenous community.
We, like pretty much every community in Australia, have issues to deal with and I am confident as the leader of this community that we are very much on the right track in tackling the issues in our backyard.
And I would never in a million years profess to tell other communities how to run their show – there is no one-size-fits all approach and nor should there be, as communities across this great country are diverse and this should be celebrated.
Comments like those of Mr Burmeister have no place in 2015 – they are incredibly unhelpful and serve to publicly undermine all the great work we have done.
I look forward to receiving (on behalf of the Moree Plains Shire) a public formal apology from Mr Burmeister at the earliest opportunity.
Moree Plains Mayor
Cr Katrina Humphries
How important is food security in Australia? We should all be thinking about this question, because government policy is seriously hindering our ability to grow food for Australians and the rest of the world.
Food production across large parts of our food bowl, in the Murray-Darling Basin, is well below capacity and we have food processing plants operating well below maximum production and therefore costing our nation jobs and valuable export dollars.
This is all occurring because governments have tried to implement a flawed Murray-Darling Basin Plan and have refused to make necessary adjustments which provide equally for the environment, economy and people; as was always intended and promised.
Food producers need urban support to convince politicians, who are scared of losing ‘green’ votes, that we need to find the right balance between water allocations for the environment and productive use for our future food security.
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