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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Editorial May 19th 2023

Welcome to this week’s editorial, The readership of The Beagle is broad. Because it is on-line it reaches well beyond the boundaries of the shire to those who may have once lived here, to those who daydream about living here and to those 40% of ratepayers who have property here, be it holiday home or investment. The readership also embraces the young who prefer their news delivered seamlessly to their device, those who enjoy their news delivered by email and those who simply want to be informed of the more critical stories and events. Having lived here for thirty seven years I am more than aware of the drift we have in our population. I am reminded of a café with an In Door and an Out Door. It is often stated that the Shire has an aging population and those statistics are fairly well proven by the 2021 Census where 33% of our population are older than 65. It is understandable that this figure is growing each Census with 30.4% older than 65 in 2016 and 25.9% in 2011. Why? Because it is a nice place to live and remains, by comparison, reasonably affordable to most to buy in (well, up until recently anyway). In days of old those who arrived in their later years had to move away. The reasons were many, loss of a partner, a need to be closer to family, or a need to be closer to specific health services. But over time the trend appears to be that our older folk aren’t leaving through the Out Door as fast as they used to. I remember first arriving in Moruya in 1984 and looking for a coffee. My choice at the time was International Roast or Pablo. There were no baristas, no designer coffee roasters. Just cans and a teaspoon and if you wanted stronger you paid 5 cents more. But new folk came to town. They bought outside ways and with that came outside expectations. One specific area was the delivery of health options. Back then a need for a specialist required a venture outside of the shire. Even then it was becoming clear that there were too few doctors for an ever growing population. But rather than putting up a warning sign at the entrances to the shire warning of our shortages of essential services and of the stretched resources and lack of services we allowed new folk to come and discover the shortfalls for themselves. And they are coming. Everyday there are new families arriving to begin new lives. And beneath the surface we now have our planners, our politicians and the many departments trying to keep abreast, if not ahead, of the rising demands. What is happening around us is happening all too fast for many to stop and consider. For those used to having it “their way” the changes are all too rapid, for those newcomers the changes they require can’t come soon enough. In 1984, when I asked for a freshly ground coffee, I was asked “What’s wrong with instant?” I look now to what is happening in the shire where the old ways are being questioned, and even turned upside down. It has always been locals verses newcomers—We verses Them. We demanded that there be no further spread into the bush for reasons of environment and fire safety yet we are not prepared to live cheek by jowl to maximise existing infrastructure and reduce carbon miles. We prefer that not so many arrive but fail to accept we need their dynamic mass to bring the services that a larger population base attracts, like doctors and specialists. For all too long we have listened to the old voices, content with their “instant coffee” and have failed to embrace the silence of the 66% majority who are often too busy to stop and say what they need or want. Maybe it is time to recognise and respect that 66% …. And listen. Until next—lei


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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