OPINION: Letters to the editor of the Western Advocate

HERE TO HELP: Salvation Army Lieutenant Penny Williams in the lead-up to this year's Red Shield Appeal.
HERE TO HELP: Salvation Army Lieutenant Penny Williams in the lead-up to this year's Red Shield Appeal.

Consider the implications of a Chinese relationship

IF Jess Jennings is to convince the citizens of the benefit of supporting his unrelenting push for a relationship between an obscure Chinese city and our proud city, he must make comment on the growing national disquiet over Chinese Government influence on Australia.

With a background of recent revelations of billionaire Chinese businessmen donating money to both Labor and Liberal parties; the revisiting of odd connections between Labor Party politicians Sam Dastyari and Joel Fitzgibbon and persons with links to the Chinese Government; the recent warnings by Australian intelligence chiefs Dennis Richardson and Duncan Lewis on the alarming number of spies operating in Australia; the control of local Chinese-Australian press by the Chinese Government; the presence of Confucius Institutes in Australian universities; the harassment of Chinese Australian citizens critical of the Chinese Government by Communist Party operatives (the list goes on) ... there are questions requiring answers.

Mr Jennings does not reveal his background or experience in suggesting this proposition.

Has he experienced the pitfalls of dealing in the China trade? Has he considered the national implications of this venture if it were ever to proceed? Is he aware of the African experience of similar Chinese investment in regional areas?

Bathurst deserves much more than just high-minded aspiration - a little realism would clear the air.

John Bell, Bathurst

Country culture misses out in the Nationals’ plan

IT is important to put into context the Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro’s announcement of a $100 million Regional Cultural Fund for community halls, libraries, museums and art galleries.

It is the same government that is providing $600 million to Sydney arts organisations like the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company and the Art Gallery of NSW.

NSW Labor is calling on the NSW Nationals to revise the structure of its Regional Cultural Fund and expand it to include programs and staff – and not just the bricks and mortar.

The fund has a “dog-eat-dog” competitive nature – where the Nationals have pitted regional communities against each other in a desperate fight for funds in a rural and regional version of the Hunger Games.

While I welcome any funds for rural and regional communities, I am unable - in good conscience – to welcome this announcement. It is another cruel National Party trick.

In recent months, I have visited a range of art galleries across NSW and have spoken to curators, directors, staff and volunteers, including those in Orange and Bathurst.

They have world class spaces, but they need ongoing funds for staff and to support their programs as well as cataloguing and digitalising their collections.

Sadly, under the Nationals, rural and regional families are not getting their fair share from the State Government – and this needs to change.

Walt Secord, Shadow Minister for the Arts

Generosity will help those who are doing it tough

THE Salvation Army would like to send a big thank you to the Australian public for its incredible support of this year’s Red Shield Appeal.

There is great need in our community and the Salvos would not be able to give hope to Australians doing it tough without the overwhelming generosity of the public.

We are especially grateful to the thousands of volunteers who assisted us over the Red Shield Door Knock weekend. 

It is not too late to donate to the Red Shield Appeal. You can donate by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or online at salvos.org.au

Leigh Cleave, communications and fundraising director, The Salvation Army