Bellingen vigil for refugees.
Bellingen vigil for refugees. contributed

No prospect of rebuilding lives

WEDNESDAY marked four years since the Rudd Government declared asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia by boat would be held in offshore detention and would never be settled in Australia.

To protest against the cruelty and inhumanity of this policy, more than 50 candlelit vigils were held all around Australia.

The aim was to highlight present government policy where innocent families are kept in desperate conditions on remote islands with no prospect of rebuilding their shattered lives.

We need to remember that Australia's intervention in conflicts overseas has played a major part in creating the present refugee crisis and so the least we can do is to show humanity to those families affected, many of whom have fled their homelands in fear of their lives.

The present policy costs $2m to keep one asylum seeker for four years on Nauru or Manus.

The Australian taxpayer has footed a bill of more than $5b to keep a small group of asylum seekers in offshore detention for the past four years.

Just imagine how much more productive it would have been to bring these people to Australia. It would cost a small fraction of this to give them due care and assistance.

Let's also remember many of them are professional people who would have much to offer our communities in Australia. We have obligations under the International Treaty of Human Rights to assist these refugees as many other countries around the world are currently doing.

Our local refugee support group, RAR, held its own well-attended candlelit vigil for members in Coffs Harbour, Nambucca, Bellingen and other local areas to join with many hundreds of others shining a light on this dark chapter of Australian history. These unsustainable and cruel policies need to change.

Marlene Griffin


AS A learn-to-swim instructor at Choppers Swim School, which until recently operated out of the Coffs Olympic Pool, I would like to say a big thank-you to all the families who supported our swim school over the 10 years that I was employed there.

With the changing over of the lease of the council-owned pools (Coffs, Sawtell and Woolgoolga) to a new management company at the start of this month, some brilliant local swim schools went out of business.

Lots of Coffs Coast children have passed through the doors of our swim school, and to have shared their lives for a little time has been special for me and the rest of the swim school team.

Thank you to our community of families who returned year after year, entrusting their children into our care and allowing us to work closely with their children.

We had some great times at our swim school, and to know all those children who swam with us have a sound knowledge of how to be safe in the water, and enjoy being in the water, is something I am immensely proud of.

Narelle Frost


THANK you to the wonderful staff at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital. From the nurses and doctors to the administration, cleaning and ward staff, you can all hold your heads high as the level of care and compassion you show for patients is well beyond the call of duty.

Marie Darcey

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