The game of mates
I refer to the Tamworth region Mayor's comments (NDL Thursday 24/10/19) suggesting I "didn't do my homework" and that I should have ingratiated myself to four fellow councillors prior to a meeting to get their hands in the air and therefore an outcome I want on the night. I didn't realise that my motion was so unpalatable to the old guard that they had caucused to vote it down, however I suspected prior to Tuesday's meeting that It would be difficult. It doesn't mean I shouldn't try. I'm always of the view, you have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Council meetings are meant to operate on the premise that there is open and transparent debate prior to a vote on matters rather than a closed shop or predetermined decisions being made before a meeting.
I didn't get personal or speak with forked tongue. I don't have party affiliations, or vested interests that I put before the welfare of my fellow ratepayers and I don't claim to be independent or unaligned when I am not. I call a spade a spade.
I believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant and asking questions in a democracy about how our precious natural resources are used is not a "waste of time", it keeps our elected representatives here and elsewhere accountable and the residents of our local government area have a Right to Know. This is the edifice of free and representative democracy.
If Mother Earth will show us that she still loves us and it rains and fills those empty storages, we need to know that we won't soon find ourselves in the position we currently find ourselves now, not pinning our hopes on the promise of an exorbitant dam proposal that delivers a total of 22 gigalitres and may be constructed in five years and may or may not be reliable. What do we do until then? We actually have plenty of storages, it's the way the precious resource is woefully over allocated.
It is important to look at the past to understand what we need to do in the future. In 2016 Chaffey Dam was full, three years later it holds just over 18%. Millions of litres of water have left the Peel Valley at Carroll Gap Bridge. There is nothing wrong with requesting a review of the dam's releases to see why things went awry.
I want vibrant and sustainable rural communities, businesses, farms and industry all enjoying a first-world water supply system. The water debacle we have seen in recent times puts rural NSW in third-world rankings. The annihilation of our inland native fish stocks destroys a $1 billion inland angling industry let alone the destruction of endangered native flora and fauna.
Our communities don't need elected local government representatives that decline to ask tough questions of elected representatives from the other tiers of government about matters that are detrimental to our future because they might embarrass or upset their mates.
Our communities need genuine leaders who will speak up and strive to put their communities' future, welfare and dignity first and foremost all the time and at every opportunity; that means enabling them to enjoy a reliable first-world water supply and the little things many take for granted like watching their plants grow.
Mark Rodda, Tamworth