Petersen 'fact checks' critical Yule letter to editor
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
GIVEN the good community work done by Barbara Yule, it saddens me to have to fact check her letter (The Gympie Times, September 15).
She claims that I asserted that "no secret meetings were ever held”.
That is not right.
I have never said, or asserted, that "no secret meetings were ever held”, because of course we had "in committee” meetings, but only when required by legislation under the Local Government Act.
The difference is that, unlike the current regime, we never took an issue into committee just because we were afraid it might be contentious or because the public might hear councillors' views on the matter.
That led to some very robust debate which was reported (generally fairly accurately) in The Gympie Times and led to criticism and claims that we were dysfunctional.
That criticism could easily have been avoided by sneaking into committee but we didn't, because we were not frightened to have the community know what was going on.
I am accused of being incapable of acknowledging outstanding achievements.
That is also untrue. It is just that I haven't seen any under the current regime. Perhaps Mrs Yule could nominate one.
Mrs Yule goes on to say that she is unaware of any public surveys on community satisfaction.
Successive biennial benchmarking surveys conducted by Market Facts Pty Ltd indicate an alarmingly declining trend in community satisfaction.
The result in every category is way below the previous survey and almost all categories are well below the Queensland average.
If Mrs Yule spoke to as many people as I do she would have ample anecdotal evidence to confirm the hard data in those public surveys.
I am in total agreement with Mrs Yule's comment that "our children are our future”.
That is why I was instrumental in obtaining premises for her community hub project.
Even more importantly I worry about the wasting of ratepayer funds and reserves on "assets” and projects which are non essential and non income producing and which will continue to be a massive cost burden to our children into the future.
Our children and their children will also be faced with the extra cost of funding future essential repairs and maintenance for which those recklessly squandered reserves were originally set aside.
Yes, our children are our future.
We have a moral obligation to ensure that they are not saddled with crippling debt under the Smith-Curran economic model.