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Wednesday
Feb012012

Community spirit shines through

One thing that really struck me at the Australia Day ceremony last week was the regard that so many of our locals have for our little town of Warialda.

People from the city probably come through our town and wonder why anyone would want to live here – there are no big shopping centres, we aren’t close to the beach, we don’t have the standard conveniences that make life a little bit easier in metropolitan areas.

(We also don’t have traffic jams, a huge problem in crime or drugs and millions of other people to contend with!)

But the sense of community really stood out last week, even more so that the patriotism to our country.
Those who won awards for their service to our town commented about how they felt privileged to live in Warialda and participate in events and organisations that support the community.

I guess, if we all felt that way, we’d all feel that sense of ownership in our community and perhaps the incidents of vandalism to public and private property would stop.

So, my challenge to each of my readers is to do just that – become more involved in your community.  There are plenty of different groups and organisations out there that would welcome a new member of volunteer with open arms, and I’m pretty sure, that there’s something to suit everyone’s interests.

Wednesday
Dec212011

Merry Christmas!

Just like most people, I’ve been finding myself say ‘I can’t believe it’s Christmas already!’

Every year, the months just seem to fly by and before we know it, it’s the festive season yet again.

Of course, it’s this time of year that the Sydney media always seem to report on metropolitan schools which have banned the singing of Christmas carols and other Christmas festivities because it might offend non-Christians. 

After attending numerous school functions over the past month, it’s been so pleasing to see that here in Warialda, we haven’t succumbed to that ridiculous political-correctness gone mad.

So, as another year draws to a close, I’d like to thank those who have helped me get through what has been an incredibly busy and at times, difficult year.  It goes without saying that my family, as always, have been incredible.  I’d also like to thank Debbie in the office here.  She has learnt so much over the past year and her eagerness has been outstanding.

Of course, the paper wouldn’t be what it is without all our contributors – from the schools, sporting organisations and local groups.  I thank you for your time and effort in putting together reports and stories.

And thank you also to all my valued clients and readers.  Without you, there would be no newspaper at all.

Have a Merry Christmas and I look forward to bringing you all the news in 2012.

Wednesday
Nov092011

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

This week is Postnatal Depression Awareness week.

This time last year, I was putting a lot of thought into what post natal depression (PND) was, and wondering whether, as a first-time mum to a newborn, I just had the ‘baby blues’ or PND.

It’s a pretty hard thing to talk about now, and even harder back then, because you don’t know what you’re meant to be thinking as a new mum.  Everything is so foreign and your life really has been thrown into complete chaos with little sleep and this tiny little human being relying solely on you!   Added to that, was the stress of being a farmer’s wife in the middle of harvest!

Many people think that only people that have been depressed before will suffer from PND, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite.  It’s also especially important for women in rural and regional areas to be aware of PND, because they are far more susceptible to feelings of isolation.

They say that these days, one in every seven new mums suffer from postnatal depression.
Of course, it’s not just women that suffer from postnatal depression.  With the pressure on men increasing, so are the numbers of those suffering PND.

But, help is at hand.  Even in a small town like Warialda, there are a number of avenues as a new mum for advice and assistance.  In Warialda there is both a playgroup and Toy Library, which offer an outlet and place for mums to meet.  There’s also a child health nurse who works between Warialda and Bingara and of course, most importantly, our local doctors.

Wednesday
Nov022011

Whose fault is QANTAS debacle?

I actually agree with the Prime Minister’s decision for the Government not to intervene on the QANTAS debacle.

The PM chose not to take the matter into her own hands to end the industrial dispute by invoking a certain section of the Fair Work Act.  Instead, she chose to allow Fair Work Australia to undertake a hearing on the case, which saw the grounded flights back in the air on Monday afternoon.

This was the right decision – otherwise, what do we have Fair Work Australia for?  Isn’t that their job – to look over disputes such as these?

However, this isn’t the last we’ll see of the matter, because the industrial dispute still stands between certain sections of the QANTAS workforce and the corporation.

So whose fault is this?  Is it the workers who want an improvement in their conditions and pay, or is the corporation who is sick of industrial action and strike after strike?

You can understand that the workers fear for their jobs, especially when so much of the operations are being taken overseas and going to people with less experience, who want less money and who wouldn’t have the patriotic connection to QANTAS that an Aussie would.

But, you can also understand the corporation’s point of view that they have obligations not only to their workers, but also their shareholders and their clients to keep profits up and prices down.

This is a situation where there’s no right or wrong (or perhaps put another way – each side is both right and wrong), but regardless, negotiations must be undertaken in a mature manner to see an agreement between both parties.

Wednesday
Oct262011

Commissioner should get a real taste of regional small business

So the new Small Business Commissioner, Yasmin King, is touring regional NSW.

She’s visiting Tamworth, Gunnedah and Armidale in an effort to find out directly from businesses what their issues and concerns are.

She’s spending an hour in each of those towns – not in actual businesses – but at function centres.

I’m delighted that the Commissioner is travelling outside of Sydney to hear about the issues facing the rest of the State, but I can tell you here in Warialda, the concerns of business owners would probably be far different to those in Tamworth.

We rarely have a firsthand opportunity to show the people who make those decisions that most affect us, what business is like here in rural areas.  We also rarely have the time to take a day off work to travel to Armidale or Tamworth to attend such functions.

Country towns are doing it tough.  Every day we face a possible decline in population as young people leave our towns for the cities.

One of the biggest issues in small business in small towns like Warialda is that customers aren’t shopping locally.  They believe that they can’t find what they’re looking for locally and often won’t ask if it can be ordered in.

Finding the right employees is also a challenge, especially when it comes to attracting skilled professionals to a town like Warialda.  Another constant criticism I hear of business owners locally is that people don’t seem to want to work.

So Commissioner, next time you do a tour of regional areas, I’d encourage you to put your boots on and get a little dusty, and spend a day in a small business in a town like Warialda.