Something needs to be done
I refer to a recent letter from Councillor Charlie Sheahan of Cootamundra regarding the need for a review or inquiry into recently merged councils.
With ratepayers of Cootamundra/Gundagai Regional Council facing a $5.9 million deficit and a series of huge rate increases over the next few years, we can only agree with the need for such a review.
None of the promised benefits of the mergers have materialised - indeed the current position of this council is such that we may well see deficit figures of over $20 million in a few years. There is only one way to overcome such a deficit - cut staff and services to the bone and increase rates.
Our local member, Steph Cooke, made a call for an independent review into our merged council pre-election. It is now her duty as our representative to ensure that this occurs and to ensure its independence - not a report by the Office of Local Government, who will have it completed before the plane lands in Wagga.
To continue to ignore the disaster that has befallen us will not see it go away - we will continue to fight for our democratic right to a plebiscite so that the people can have their voice.
If the NSW Government wants to focus on the people it can start by listening to the ratepayers in Cootamundra/Gundagai Council and implement such a review - NOW.
Secretary, Gundagai Council in Exile Inc
Enough is enough
Another suicide of a former member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been reported as being linked to the bureaucratic bungling that is the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA).
Calls have been made for a Royal Commission into the high rate of suicides amongst former members of the ADF but such a Royal Commission must surely include a close examination of DVA.
DVA mismanagement of former ADF members' health requirements has become legend with inexplicable delays in the handling of cases and a policy of rejecting claims wherever possible. The Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Mr Chester MP, appears to be asleep at the wheel of DVA but does appear to be available for any photo opportunity.
In my case, it took DVA nine, yes nine, years to recognise that I suffered from bruxism, a dental issue of grinding one's teeth caused by taking large quantities of antidepressants and cardiac related medications. In the intervening nine years I had to have several teeth removed at my own expense as they were worn down to gum level.
DVA has now paid some of my old dental accounts for the removal of teeth but now states that they will not pay for implants to replace the lost teeth because DVA policy is that the treatment for bruxism is to have a type of teeth protector put over your teeth to stop them wearing down by grinding.
Now think about it, DVA has paid for me to have my teeth removed but is stating that my treatment must be to have this guard over my teeth. What teeth? There are no teeth left to protect and you paid to have them removed.
My case is but one of many that I am aware of where the DVA bureaucracy is letting down for ADF members. Should anyone wish to add to these tales of woe please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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