With the festive season upon us it is an appropriate time to reflect on strengths and weaknesses that are part of the community in which we live.
In the words of Edward River Mayor Norm Brennan in his Christmas message (page 8), this year we have again seen “the strength and resilience of the Edward River community”. Other messages also spoke about this ‘resilience’.
That strength permeates through all sectors of the community including health, education, sport, community service, volunteerism — the list goes on.
It is the latter which is such an amazing contributor to the fabric of our community. We have a vast range of organisations which rely on the voluntary contributions of individuals who give their time willingly to help others.
In many respects this is simply part of rural society.
As Mayor Brennan says: “Despite the challenges we have faced, our strong sense of community has persevered and we have continued to see enormous progress.”
The progress to which he refers has included a range of infrastructure projects, many of which will be completed in 2019.
There are initiatives such as the developments at Navorina Nursing Home and the Deniliquin Children’s Centre, plus the imminent retirement village which will support both young and older members of our community.
We have the region’s large solar farm projects which will create many jobs, as well as the new industrial estate and railway freight terminal which we announced in last Friday’s edition, plus many others.
During the year the Deniliquin Business Chamber again hosted its annual business awards, a highlight of which was the number of new successful businesses being established across a number of sectors.
The various projects, plus these business initiatives, tell us there is a high level of confidence in the future, despite the challenges to which we refer.
Unfortunately, as we display the strength and resilience for which the community is renowned, it is generally government policy or intervention which is at the heart of the challenges that have to be faced. We believe lack of government support and strong representation is, without doubt, our biggest weakness.
We reported another example of this last Friday, with the NSW Government’s decision to reduce agricultural research opportunities in Deniliquin at a time when they should be increased.
It makes no sense, though that goes hand in hand with many decisions that impact on our community.
And despite it, we will soldier on. We will continue to be resilient and we will continue to enjoy our small, but important, part of this state and nation.