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Suffering from neglect

Arts funding, bushwalking and a youth activity have people talking in the latest selection of letters to the editor.

Arts funding, bushwalking and a youth activity have people talking in the latest selection of letters to the editor.

I’m glad tourists to the Highlands are being directed to our pleasing pies because our local bushwalks are anything but.

Years of neglect have meant countless tracks are degraded and signs have disintegrated, fallen down or disappeared altogether in places like The Gib, Mt Alexandra, Gibbergunyah and along the Nattai below Box Vale Track. Fallen trees and flooding from storms have also made bushwalking in the area very difficult.

And while on the subject of pathways, the new footpath under construction between Bowral and Mittagong is a great idea, albeit long overdue, and will attract more walks but how do they cross this dangerously busy road to walk into West Mittagong and towards the Marketplace? A safe crossing might be the go.

Andrew Mevissen

Mittagong

Martial Arts opportunity

The Highlands Community Centre’s Youth Hub is keen to hold a Martial Arts Exhibition but wants to know if there is enough interest.Our plan is to hold it at the Mittagong RSL on July 8 from 10am to 2pm.

It is a great opportunity to see what local martial arts clubs are around the Highlands, what they do, how to get involved and what the different martial arts are all about. We would like to highlight Aikido, Jiu Jitsu, karate, kung fu, mixed martial arts (MMA) Taekwondo, Tai Chi – anything that is on offer in the Highlands.

Entry would be free and all would be welcome. The event would be funded by NSW Clubs Grants. However we need expressions of interest as soon as possible. Please contact the Youth Hub by no later the June 21 if you are interested or would like more information. Our phone number is 0414 207 571.

Robyn Betland

Senior Youth Worker

Call for more funding

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. Yes, rural and regional areas are getting a sixth of what Sydney is receiving.

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 region 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 that have world class spaces, but they need on-going 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.

Hon Walt Secord

Shadow Minister for the Arts

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