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Sandy Wilder - 14 August 2018

Sandy Wilder addressed council regarding logging at Corunna Forest at the Ordinary Council Meeting 14 August 2018.

I appreciate - chance to speak here in council..   .. and appreciate each of you for your commitment to - the work of council I thinking about our Eurobodalla community.

I want to talk about where we are going as a community - our local community in the context of the wider community -Australia and beyond, particularly the importance of inclusion of a wide range of voices in major planning decisions. This has become highlighted again for me locally in relation to the need for more integrated consultation regarding the RLS.

My work background is in community development - in bringing together mothers and fathers and figuring out ways to support them in staying well connected with their children.

Before heading to the city as a YP I grew up on a small family farm south of Cobargo. We milked 49 cows and sold cream to Cobargo butter factory. Growing up on a small farm there were lots of important lessons learned about caring for animals, plants and for the land, fighting bush fires and managing in  hard times - as in when it didn't rain for a long time. Community cooperation and support was highly significant in crisis times.

On going to the city to teacher's college at 17 I quickly felt the disrespect for country people (by city folks) that was around in those days. It was as though my people's knowledge was of lesser importance than sophisticated city people's knowledge. I later came to value what I'd learned on the farm and living in a supportive community.

The world has changed enormously since I grew up.

Richard Flanagan - Tasmanian writer, speaking at the recent Garma festival in NT says it well when he speaks of Marginalisation & Fragmentation.

In looking at the world Flanagan signals a warning:  The world is being undone before us - fragmentation in many places on the basis of concocted differences and growing inequality, fear and division. He goes on ...
'We see truth everywhere denied: in the Philippines, in Turkey, Russia, Hungary. Withering democracies in Poland and Cambodia, Britain in chaos with Brexit and Trump's white nationalism"wrecking  havoc with human needs in the US.

Flannagan asks - Who are we as Australians? What joins us together as Australians? Where are we going?

Disintegration across the world means weakening, possibly complete loss of functioning democracy.

When I read of facts such as - 8 people owning and controlling the same about of wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people on earth. I think it would be foolish not to stop and question where we are heading.

When people get marginalised. When power and decision making are in the hands of a few with limited diversity, our community fabric becomes thread bare.

I want a community where everyone is well cared for, respected and included where we treasure the land, waters and natural living systems which support our lives.

The earth/our land and waters - - - A resource to be used up? Or a resource that needs careful nurturing so that it continues to support our lives and nourish our spirits?

I am deeply concerned about where society is going here in Australia and across the world. I am very worried that if implemented the RLS will be a further step to marginalise many in our communities  (in Flanagan's words increase Fragmentation) and downgrade the quality of our environment and it's ability to support our physical and spiritual wellbeing.

In the interests of democracy and of strong inclusive community

I propose that we bring the minds and voices of people not yet represented here:

Some examples –

  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Young people and Young adults
  • Working class and poor people
  • Doctors who work hard to care for our health.
  • Counsellors and church leaders who strive to care for people's emotional and social wellbeing. Who else?

Many people do not go to the library or are able to readily digest a large document.

that we allow adequate time and properly consultative processes for a wide section of our commuity to learn about the RLS proposals and consider what they might mean and that council seriously include these further responses.

In utilizing skilled Facilitated community engagement council will be strengthening our community members' ability have a voice and strengthening our democracy at a local level.

This would be something we could be proud of. This is my request to you as our elected representatives