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Byron Shire
March 22, 2023

Time to manage without mining

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Lismore incumbent – Janelle Saffin MP

With just a few days until we head to the polls, The Echo asked the candidates for the seat of Lismore one last bunch of questions.

I have been reading your headlines for sometime and have been wondering when something about business closures might make the headlines. You may or may not want to talk politics but our local business economy is struggling and I’m sure that it’s far more widespread.

While our government is talking up our economy and doesn’t understand why consumer confidence is down, they are telling us that everything is fine. The reality is there are more and more businesses closing as a result of a very slow economy. There’s no sign of improvement on the horizon; in fact up to another 18 months or more of similar or worsening trade is to be expected.

If new businesses are not opening and others are closing, it’s not hard to do the maths on our economic misfortune. Energy prices have risen dramatically – electricity, gas and petrol/diesel – and we have also seen increases in insurances and water rates etc. This all gets passed onto the consumer where possible. It would appear the consumer hasn’t got the money to spare; the spending has dried up, so business owners are folding under the weight bestowed upon them.

No-one has more money, everyone has less – apart from our politicians who have been awarded almost record wage rises. Worse is to come I’d expect and I’m usually an optimist.

It would appear that every day the government changes the boundaries or moves the goalposts on industry or business without understanding the ramifications and ripple affects. These effects continue out to the end user – they can also crush businesses along the way.

People run and own these businesses, real people, people who don’t have the ability to make money just fall from the sky. These business closings affect us all and it will be a long time before we see an improvement.

Our system needs an overhaul. We need united thinkers playing for the good of all, a fair government with lifelong goals, not a mere four-year plan. We need planners for generations to come. We need to care about the next century, the next half-century, the next decade. Government should be managing long-term financially sustainable plans.

Taxing us on our fuel usage will not help develop a stronger economy to look after our ageing population, our hospitals or schools. Yes, it will slow down the use of such products; we must have vision enough to see we must create alternative fuels for transport or alternative styles of transport. It is possible.

This government would appear to have good intentions but they are not accountable, we are, that’s why we have so many business closures. It’s not our individual managers, it’s our general manager the prime minister not looking at reality but focused on the income of our two-speed economy: the mining sector.

Yeah, there is big money in mining but is it really helping our communities? Has anyone mentioned to the government that it’s all right with us voters if you leave some resources for our future generations? If this country can’t manage without mining it’s simply not managing at all. It is a disgrace.

Pryce Allsop, Murwillumbah

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