Icing on the Cake – It’s The Tops

Comments (0) Susie Dunn

The Armidale region – with Australia’s highest city – is tops for “human-sized” lifestyle and opportunities, as far as I’m concerned. Like many, I’ve known some marvellous places; maybe we realise it more when we have comparisons.

Two important tools in getting the most out of life are curiosity and optimism. A sense of humour always helps. It’s up to us to take advantage of the possibilities, showing the rest of the world why we think it’s tops. Fill the gaps! Strike out! 

There’s a lot of jargon talked today and lots of words in CAPITAL LETTERS (so we understand?).  There’s great benefit in keeping things direct and simple. Hearing about disruption and conflict shouldn’t stand in front of well-researched, realistic ideas. Teams of people make a living telling other people how to do things. Just listening doesn’t get you to the end game.

The shouty, uncivil behaviour we hear so often from many of our politicians is being blamed for spreading into the community and encouraging bad behaviour in schools. Why should we let that happen? We all share responsibility for what sort of country we are. NFF’s head Fiona Simson says, “People are really frustrated at the moment with the politics” and “what people are wanting now is outcomes”. She sees climate change as opportunity in the energy market.

There’s been much talk about the importance of STEM subjects in education – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. I’m glad to see that now there’s talk of STEAM, inserting Arts into the mix. Importantly, it’s study of the Humanities that can make ethical sense of STEM. Students aren’t just “customers” – there’s much more to it than that. If the new Super School is as super as hoped, plus our other good schools, plus UNE; well, there’s another strand to making us “Tops” as a great place to live for families. Multicultural cities our size should be equipped to give everyone a fair go. 

City letter writers and commentators are always talking about “liveability”, “affordability” and “sustainability”. Let’s lure them up here to contribute, making sure we deliver what they look for, including a lively fun city centre? Visit Renew in a Box at the library. Can’t Council convene a Round Table with Mall landlords and tenants for mutual benefit? The State Budget smiled on the region, with Adam Marshall announcing Guyra finally gets $12,375 million for a pipeline from Malpas to “drought-proof the community and ensure continued growth”. There’s also
money for mental health initiatives and a highway road safety upgrade between Armidale and Uralla. Lifting the Payroll Tax threshold to $1million should be a great help to local small business owners. Tax lobbying by Business Chambers was a big factor, and the increased flow of information between the Sydney Chamber and our local branch benefits us.

There’s been a House of Representatives Select Committee Inquiry into Regional Development and Decentralisation. I admit to some “Report scepticism” overall. Some places are perfect candidates for sensible decentralisation. We should get a tick. 

While NERAM celebrates new Director Rachael Parsons, the OTC seems in suspended animation. Apart from NECOM’s problems, any word where the Archives’ important historical resources are going at UNE? They need a special climate-controlled home and accessibility.

I learnt an interesting snippet from heritage guru Graham Wilson. Did you know during WWII the Armidale Teachers’ College had the Defence contract to assemble and paint model aircraft for distribution to “spotters”? I love those human interest stories adding to recitals of basic information. Judith Wright’s influential national story, the 1866 Dangars Gorge wire walker, the Armidale Jack the Ripper link – such stories bring history alive, and visitors love and remember them. 

Let’s trend-set nationally with friendly town signage, e.g. “Please pop your rubbish in this bin…” 

Our sporting facilities attract events and serious economic benefits, adding the 2020 24-Hour World Endurance Mountain Bike Championships with UNE to the list. Public performances of all kinds around town. And a House Concert at the Powers was – stunning! Remember Opera Australia at Lazenby, August 9.

Susie Dunn,

P.S. 500 guests applauded organisers of a ground-breaking Fleece to Fashion. Special!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *