Our federal government is sufficiently concerned about gun proliferation to impose an amnesty on unwanted and unregistered firearms in the interests of public safety. Even so, the Eurobodalla Shire Council ignores the appeal by continuing to license a festival that encourages more guns to be sold and fired here on the beautiful south coast.
This celebration of hunting with sale of guns on crown land in Narooma has been given a licence until 2022, and is listed as an attractive event on the tourist calendar. Why does council continue to defy the opinion of the government, the community and eminent bodies such as the AMA, the RSPCA and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation on matters of public safety in order to defend and promote this event?
HuntFest is contrary to the wishes of the majority of Australians who justifiably, following the American experience, equate more guns with more violence. If you are unhappy with the idea of the South Coast becoming a mecca for hunters and a public building being used for sale and promotion of guns, make your opinion known to the council and to the relevant government bodies, urging them to act in a way that will ensure public safety and restore faith in community engagement and democratic decision making.
Our Language Matters
NAIDOC Week runs from 2 July to 9 July and has the theme “Our Language Matters”. The emphasis of this week is to celebrate the unique role language plays in linking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to their cultural identity, land and people. Today only around 120 of some 250 distinct indigenous languages are still spoken, with many at risk of being lost. Youth Off The Streets is trying fix this.
My organisation has specific programs that are run to connect our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to their culture and I believe that this is one of the best ways to help our young people make positive choices and achieve their full potential. The unfortunate truth is that Aboriginal Australians make up around 27 per cent of our prison population, have high suicide rates, and an overall lower life expectancy. We cannot sit idly while these issues are still faced by Australians.
Working with Aboriginal communities has been a privilege. I’ve seen so many young people turn their lives around through simply connecting with their culture, land and people. We know that connecting young indigenous people with Aboriginal Elders and our own Aboriginal youth workers ensures that they have cultural guidance in their most formative years. In some cases, all our troubled young people need is kindness and guidance from cultural leaders to turn their lives around.
This NAIDOC Week, I implore you to take part in your local NAIDOC Week events. Join me in encouraging our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to connect with their community and history and achieve greatness.
Father Chris Riley
CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets
Hard Labour required
We are now just over halfway through the year entering a new financial year, thanks to our politicians and councillors are about to be burdened with rising costs of essential commodities. Our politicians and local councillors have supported budgets that include mechanisms and formulas to increase revenue streams and salary package benefits for themselves at the expense of the general community. How they think the ordinary citizen is supposed to keep up with the ever increasing prices of things they support in budgets who knows. But it about time they all started to live in places where they did a bit of genuine work – hard labour.