Harden Murrumburrah Express letters to the editor, March 9, 2017

WATER TIGHT: Goldenfields Water GM Phillip Rudd says the previous board did support plans to extend into Boorowa.

WATER TIGHT: Goldenfields Water GM Phillip Rudd says the previous board did support plans to extend into Boorowa.

Water board’s hard work

I would like to assure Scott Collins (‘Region’s Water Woes’, Harden Murrumburrah Express, March 2) and the community that the current Goldenfields Water board is playing a very important role overseeing the region’s drinking water supply.

As a county council, Goldenfields Water is a unique organisation, especially given it is made up of seven different councils that depend on it to deliver vital water supply services to their communities.

Last year, the board faced some major changes after the NSW Government merged Boorowa, Harden and Young councils to form Hilltops Council, and merged the former Cootamundra and Gundagai councils.

Making sure these changes do not impact the delivery of water supply services for over 45,000 people across Bland, Coolamon, Junee, Temora, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Narrandera and Hilltops remains a key focus for the board.

As an interim measure, the NSW Government has appointed former councillors Chris Manchester and Dennis Palmer as additional administrators of Hilltops and Cootamundra-Gundagai councils so they can continue serving on the board.

These appointments were made after the board’s previous chairman and I met with the Minister for Local Government to try and retain Mr Manchester and Mr Palmer’s valuable experience during this period of change. Importantly, this means the number of board members has not changed and all the communities that rely on Goldenfields Water continue to be properly represented. This interim measure will be in place until the first elections are held for the newly amalgamated councils in September, 2017.

Generally, under NSW local government laws any person appointed to the board is remunerated as part of their role. But, currently Administrator Wendy Tuckerman does not receive any remuneration for her role as the second Hilltops Council member on the Board.

Finally, the previous board did support plans to extend Goldenfields Water’s network so that it can supply water to Boorowa.

At this stage, there is still a lot of work to be done before a decision is made, but we are keen to work closely with the new Hilltops Council to identify a viable, long-term option for providing a quality and reliable water supply service to this community.  

Phillip Rudd

Goldenfields Water general manager

Milk of human kindness

We all know the dairy industry is in deep crisis as prices plummet, but now we are witnessing signs of terminal panic, with the demand from the industry to ban the word "milk" from soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, oat milk and any other milk which does not fill their shrinking coffers. The panic is justified: the demand for non-dairy milk in Australia has increased rapidly, and these products now cover 10 per cent of milk sales.

What is "milk"? The industry has asked to have an unjustified monopoly over the word by redefining it as "a mammary secretion of animals".  Enticing as this would look on a carton, the fact of the matter is that most dictionary definitions put that as just one possible meaning, and add that it is secreted "for the nourishment of their young". This is inconvenient, in that the industry wants to steal that milk from those young, and therefore has to either kill them (all the male calves and many of the females) or add them to the herd, as replacements for the cows who are shipped to the slaughterhouse less than half way through their natural lives, done in by a lifetime of almost constant pregnancies and lactation.

Another dictionary definition of milk is "to exploit or defraud by taking small amounts of money over a period of time" and this is evident in the industry's argument that non-dairy milks are nutritionally inferior to their mammary secretions. In fact, quite the opposite is true. For a start, at least two thirds of adults have trouble digesting lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. 

But even for the minority who can assimilate these secretions, dairy products are known to increase the chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other ailments. Large scale studies have shown that, rather than preventing osteoporosis, milk may actually increase women’s risk of getting the disease.

Fortified plant-derived milks provide calcium, vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein but do not contain any cholesterol. They are a healthier choice, do not cause the massive environmental damage that cows inflict on the plane. They are truly the milks of human kindness.

Desmond Bellamy

PETA Australia special projects co-ordinator