QUIET TIME: With no cafe on site, the Grafton Regional Gallery is struggling to attract visitors.
QUIET TIME: With no cafe on site, the Grafton Regional Gallery is struggling to attract visitors.

LETTERS to the editor: Feb 16, Drawing conclusions

Drawing conclusions

I NOTE with interest your story on falling numbers at the Regional Gallery (DEX 12/02/2015).

Does this mean that over the years of high funding provided to the gallery based on attendance figures the numbers have actually been artificially inflated by visitors to the cafe and not necessarily the gallery?

Surely this is something council needs to examine in depth.

In this day of extremely competitive funding, councils need to direct funding to those services the community sees as a high priority.

Obviously without the drawcard of a cafe the gallery no longer falls within those guidelines.

A cafe should act as a bonus while the gallery should be the drawcard. This is not the case based on the falling numbers.

I would find it hard to believe that such a huge drop in visitor numbers over two years can be attributed to this one condition.

I also think it's a bit of a furphy that "every gallery in the world" has a cafe.

Maybe it's time for council to rethink funding of this luxury in our local community.

Martin McGrath, South Grafton

Worrying report

THIS week the Prime Minister released his seventh annual report on progress towards the Closing the Gap targets.

It makes for sobering reading.

As has been widely reported, Australia is struggling to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in several areas including life expectancy and education. Mental health is also an area of particular concern.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remain twice as likely to die by suicide as non-indigenous Australians.

As pointed out in the recent Close the Gap Campaign's Progress and Priorities report, prepared by numerous non-government organisations including beyondblue, there is an entrenched mental health crisis among indigenous Australians that may be getting worse.

Indigenous Australians are almost three times more likely to be psychologically distressed than non-indigenous Australians, while distress levels and hospitalisation rates for intentional self-harm are growing.

The Close the Gap Campaign steering committee, of which beyondblue is a member, has recommended that mental health and suicide prevention become a new priority focus.

Australia will never be a place that sufficiently protects all of its citizens from depression, anxiety and the risk of suicide until the gap is closed.

We must do everything we can to achieve health equality by the 2030 deadline agreed to by Australia's major political parties.

Georgie Harman, beyondblue

Switch on energy

THE National Party has deceived their country supporters.

They stated that Essential Energy will not be included in the sale of electricity assets and then mislead their voting support by getting Essential Energy to transfer all their customers across to Origin and AGL.

This to me is misleading as they gave country customers the view that they would not be included in privatisation of electricity.

Charles John Lincoln, Gulmarrad

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