Letter to the editor: October 9, 2018

The man who cares for the Mallee people

Far too much has been happening to endanger the lives of our Lameroo senior citizens – some of them founding members of our township – and it stops now!

There have been in the last couple of weeks three new police reports regarding safety issues affecting the life of elderly Southern Mallee district community members.

That is why, when I became the latest casualty of the atrocious, pathetic, unmanageable nature strips, footpaths and kerbs within Lameroo, in mid-May, I took up the fight for them.

I’ve been absolutely horrified to see them navigating, with walkers and walking sticks, the atrocious, unmanageable excuses for footpaths and nature strips throughout this township; at funerals, outside the Lameroo Uniting Church, I have even witnessed them falling into the gutters.

That is a shocking state of affairs.

Someone had to do something.

I have written three letters to the Southern Mallee District Council and had three rather non-descript letters back.

In the last one that I sent to the acting CEO, Peter Bond, dated July 16, I threw out a challenge: are you going to wait until somebody kills themselves by having a fall in the street?

One such recent case was a fall on a Lameroo footpath that was witnessed by a passing traffic policeman and another local, who came to the assistance of the 82-year-old local concerned, which required a trip to the emergency department of the Lameroo District Hospital.

Indeed that fall was so serious that, after a relapse on July 15, an ambulance had to be called – I know because it was my husband.

He fell so hard, the postmistress later told me, that she could hear the sound of the fall from inside the Lameroo Post Office.

Recently I took the fight for their safety one step further ... otherwise the matter would have been shelved, forgotten, as has happened in the past.

I took up the fight for their protection by starting to obtain signatures.

The horror stories I found out were just unbelievable.

I had no other recourse than to present the entire matter to a higher authority, someone I knew from long ago and trusted.

So I sent an express paid letter requesting an interview with Adrian Pederick, Member for Hammond.

On August 10 I travelled all the way on the school bus to attend a meeting with him.

Adrian now has, in the black portfolio that I presented him with, a letter of introduction, seven pages of signatures, approximately 30 photographs of the worst places on the main street of Lameroo, copies of all three letters that I wrote to the Southern Mallee Council and their rather non-descript replies, photographs of how my husband Trevor looked after his fall on July 10, photographs of the huge white boulders that I have to deal with on the uneven, shocking, appalling excuse for a nature strip outside my home and a USB containing all the photographs I took last Sunday, when I ran into the Pinnaroo/Lameroo policeman.

Pinnaroo was given an opportunity by me to join the others regarding my petition, but chose not to be involved.

As for the local council, I wouldn’t vote for them in a heartbeat, with one exception: Alan Dunsford, you will both receive my full support and vote, because I have not forgotten the personal and professional support you gave me when I was secretary of the Lameroo Rotary Club (Brian Toogood fits this description as well, but has decided not to stand again).

As for the new CEO, I will, for now, reserve my opinion of him.

But what is he going to do about this appalling and dangerous matter concerning the lives of the seniors and the founding members of this township?

As I told the mayor in my first letter, dated May 14, I’m standing up and being counted, I will not back down, I will not go away and I will not forget, as others have done.

Yes, I’m fully aware that things like this matter of safety don’t happen straight away, and take time to fix properly.

But I will be watching.

To those people within the community who trusted me when they signed the signatures and told their horror stories of many falls, I thank you.

I have now completed what I promised you all I would do.

To the wonderful lady owner of the post office, I offer you a big thank you for your trust, support and faith in me and my personal integrity.

Enough is enough!

Something had to be done, so I took the fight for justice to someone that I knew, Adrian Pederick, and had a very productive meeting with him.

I knew the calibre of the man; he is a person who has always cared for others, especially the senior citizens of Lameroo and his constituents within the region of Hammond.

Long ago, when I was on the committee of Carers SA, I witnessed firsthand when he supported a federal enquiry into the needs of carers, and I wrote to several newspapers on August 29, 2008, an article to support him when someone dared to try and undermine him.

Just like me, Adrian never forgot my support then.

I sincerely hope that you, the Mallee people of Lameroo, realise how lucky you are to have a man of his calibre and standing within the committee prepared to take on the battle to correct things.

I hope that you realise the enormous debt of gratitude that you will now owe Adrian, and never forget that when nobody else cared enough Adrian Pederick did.

I will never forget that and I most sincerely hope that you don’t either!

Annette Bannigan, PO Box 50, Lameroo