I reply to the letter by Mr Swarts in the Times (February 3). I very much appreciate him associating me with Transport for NSW because like that government department, I am also attempting to deal with the facts concerning the Milton/Ulladulla Bypass. In sharp contrast, it appears that Mr Swarts would rather provide misinformation and create hysteria within the community.
After wading through Mr Swart's somewhat convoluted letter, I finally reached his main point. That is, that it would be cheaper in the long run to bypass Burrill and Lake Tabourie now, to be able to incorporate a southerly dual carriage highway later on. In what I regard as highly inflammatory language, he talks about the destruction of houses next to the existing highway between Burrill and Lake Tabourie. He talks about the "destruction to Lake Tabourie and Burrill that a four lane upgrade will create." All of these comments rest on the critical assumption that a four lane upgrade will occur in these areas.
On Wednesday, February 3, along with other interested parties, I attended a meeting with three senior Transport for NSW representatives at the Ulladulla Civic Centre. I specifically asked about the timeframe and structure for any planned dual carriage highway south of Burrill. We were clearly informed that the dual carriage plans were "aspirational" and had a timeframe of "20, 30, 40 years" away. In addition, and very importantly, the point was made that any dual carriage may not be continuous. Rather, improvements such as realignments, additional overtaking lanes, bridge replacements and so on would most likely form a part of the highway improvements over time.
As you can see, this information makes almost all of Mr Swart's statements irrelevant. It would appear then that Mr Swart's is attempting to whip up some hysteria on the bypass issue by misrepresenting the facts which is very regrettable. Further, Mr Swarts signs off on his letter as: Chairperson Tabourie Lake Ratepayers and Residents Association. He therefore purports to represent the community of Lake Tabourie. Although I live in Termeil, I spend a great deal of my time in Tabourie, both recreationally and socially. I have spoken to many residents about the Bypass issue. It has been informative to me that there is a very wide range of opinion on the matter. Some people do not want any bypass at all since traffic congestion only occurs during holidays. Another resident told me that she thought the bypass should re-enter on the Kings Highway. Certainly, it seems that Tabourie residents are not as united on the issue as Mr Swarts would have us believe.
Mr Swart's letter also disappointingly deals only with cost. He fails to mention environmental destruction and other important criteria which also require balancing in the final bypass solution. Like the Go West Movement from Burrill, his arguments do not stand up to critical analysis. They are simplistic, not necessarily factual, and could serve to create hysteria and uncertainty.
G. Miller, Termeil
In 2018 I was employed as a social worker by Pormpur Panthu, an Aboriginal women's organisation in the remote community of Pormpuraaw, which is on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Very quickly I became aware of how illiteracy meant that proud and good people could not manage their own affairs. I was asked by locals to commence literacy tutoring in the mornings before work. I reached out for support material to the reading and writing hotline.
I contacted then Federal MP for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis for advice and support.
At that stage I was unaware that Ann was chair of the Parliamentary Aboriginal Affairs Committee. Ann worked away lobbying regarding this issue.
I recently heard from the CEO of Pormpur Panthu that Pormpuraaw has been chosen as one of the pilot sites for an adult literacy program with the support of the reading and writing hotline. Thank you Ann.