Once up on a time … we felt all the good things were possible and that the good people would make everything right. Now we know we have to participate in that process.
What would you like to see in 2019? I’ll throw some of my hopes into the hat, in no particular order.
• A higher standard of politics.
• Recognition our lives depend on our environment. Those involved with agriculture are, on the whole, the most aware.
• Acceptance of climate change (ask David Attenborough).
• Recognition renewable energy is sensible and cheaper and can give farmers needed income.
• Awareness NSW is reportedly killing 10 million native animals yearly from habitat loss and that yes, this does matter! Factually, biodiversity is our life-support system.
• Assurance big companies act, so what befell Beattie Alvarez is not possible, when AGL took an unreasonable time to agree that her small shop’s June/September electricity bill of $7,200.09 should have been $770.13. Big companies make chasing them unconscionably hard, and it shouldn’t have to involve media intervention!
• Positive, speedy, do-able action to put our best foot (feet?) forward in the presentation, promotion and sustainable growth of our region. No outside consultants. If we aren’t as effective as others in promoting ourselves, why should we expect to be listened to?
• Acceptance employment opportunities are changing, and with our schools, university and TAFE we should capitalise on the change to service industries as prime employers, while technology contributes to boosting progress.
• Hope that when our leaders talk about other countries they don’t always only talk about their monetary value to us.
• Acceptance of the importance of regional sport in promoting health and also as an important economic contributor e.g. Armidale figures for 2018 indicate $17 million.
• It’s important rural Australians are across international market trends as they happen. It’s disturbing that the UK’s Marks & Spencer chain was promoting Christmas sandwiches including “marinated fake meat”. The MLA Europe’s fightback includes “Australian Good Meat – doesn’t just happen. It’s produced intentionally in a way that cares about Australia’s livestock, environment and consumers”.
• Finally, political correctness – how far should it go? I’m conscious I often talk about “hugs” … goodness – don’t want to appear in court.
UNE’s Dr. Lorina Barker is a friend, and I’m thrilled she’s received an ARC grant to track three Aboriginal Songlines, exploring their importance and adding pieces to the jigsaw that is the history of our country.
The coming generations are our future, and we don’t listen at our/their peril. Don’t let’s flood them with jargon and layers of bureaucracy, impeding progress and quality of life. A recent SMH article called for recognition of the Humanities in the new employment reality. Jessica Irvine wrote (8/11/18) “Increasingly the business world is realising that the skills of most value in the new economy will be those of critical and analytical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills – skills that humanities delivers in spades”. We have the institutions here. Good teachers bring us these skills, and should be rewarded as the frontline, far ahead of the new service “fluff” designations of “onboarding Academic Concierges and Learning Designers”. Let’s keep it simple and strong.
Good heavens! What a list I’m making! Obviously everyone has different wishes and hopes for 2019. Let’s understand our opportunities and say “Yes” to what is best for our lives, our families and the future of our beautiful fragile globe.
p.s.1. The end of 2018 brought two special presents for Armidale – our MP Adam Marshall’s cut-through achieved probable retention of the Old Court House for the community, and the reborn Tatts Hotel – opening progressively – stars a glamorous restaurant and brings a chic international style to the region. And, Guyra sees the tomato farm’s $67 million expansion starting, taking it to 40 hectares. A big employer.
p.s.2. Planning for the new Colour New England Street Arts Festival on April 6 should create a fresh chance to kick-back and enjoy. Want to participate? Contact Hayley Ward on 6770 3824.
p.s.3. Oh – and watch for steampunk…