We can use our voice, so we should use it

We live in a democratic society and, for the most part, the democracy works. 

We vote to elect who represents us throughout all of our levels of government. While this isn’t perfect, it at least lets us have our say and that really isn’t something we should take for granted – but occasionally we do.

We’re allowed to reasonably critique those in power without the fear of imprisonment or much worse.

This stretches through all forms of government, from the local bowls club hierarchy through to the Prime Minister’s office.

This is something else we shouldn’t take for granted, but we occasionally do.

But we’re allowed to have our voice, so we need to use it to express our concerns, but also to inform ourselves.

I recently attended the Coorong Ratepayers Action Group and one of the most glaring things I noticed was that there a lot of people with a lot of concerns about the Coorong District Council – but not many had done anything about their concerns.

Over two hundred people packed into the Tailem Bend Town Hall and raised questions along the lines of “My rates went up, what’s the money being spent on?”, “Why should I pay for this service when I don’t want/use it?” and “For years I’ve thought the council were overstaffed – what can we do about it and who can we speak to?”

These are completely understandable questions, but the last one bugged me. 

“For years..."

People have had concerns for years and many had only raised them with their friends, their families or in situations like a ratepayers meeting. None of that will achieve the result they ultimately want. 

The Coorong District Council’s rates are quite high, there’s no denying that, but if you’re concerned about just how high they are, if you’re concerned about council staffing and expenditure, or if you’re concerned about state of your road, please contact your council.  You might need to be persistent, but your persistence will be rewarded in one way or another. 

Also, councils put their Budgets up for public consultation before it is accepted and put in place.

If they think something is fair, and they receive no responses from the public, it will be passed. You have the opportunity to use your voice and potentially influence decisions, so don’t wait until it’s too late. 

- Nick Grimm