Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm Back!

And intending to be around a little more than I have been recently!

I have noticed some really amazing things that are provided by the government in Australia. I guess it is more noticeable having come from South Africa, where there are so many people with nothing, and especially having worked in communities with people who have very little. In the area where the Woza Moya organization operates outside Ixopo, I’ve seen families who don’t know where their next meal is going to come from. I’ve seen a man from Cato Manor collect chicken bones from people’s plates after a luncheon to be able to go home and make chicken soup. There really is so much need in South Africa.

Although there are organizations that assist homeless people, for example, in Australia, the need here is certainly not as great. With my background I guess it really strikes me how much the government does and the kinds of things that are (and can be) priorities here.

It is noticeable looking through my local newspaper and seeing some of the offers and specials that I could take advantage of courtesy of the government:

 I can save up to $250 on my energy and water bills by using the ClimateSmart service which involves a licenced electrician visiting my home and installing a wireless energy monitor. This is initiated by the Queensland Government. I have to pay $50 but Brisbane City Council residents get the cash back. There are four adverts for this in this week’s local paper.
 I can attend a free business workshop organized by the Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry on how to strengthen my business.
 I can get a subsidized microdot kit for $30. Microdots are high-tech ways to protect household valuables. They are invisible to the naked eye and are easily applied to deter theft and help identify stolen goods.
 I can dispose of unwanted household items – such as furniture, fridges, stoves, carpet, bath and laundry tubs, wood products etc – by putting them on the kerbside in front of my home and having them collected for free by the Brisbane City Council.
 I can attend a display at local shopping centres about how tolls will be calculated automatically as I pass under a tolling point. There will be no more stopping to pay tolls from July.
 As a Brisbane resident over 14 years I can attend free personal safety seminars that are designed to increase my confidence and ease any concerns I may have about crime affecting me. I would also have the opportunity to discuss any personal safety issues or questions with internationally-renowned experts.

Thinking about different priorities, it also struck me this week that even the criminals here have different priorities! I walked passed a local pharmacy the other morning and saw that there was police tape across the entrance. My local newspaper contained a short article about what had happened there: Three robbers struck at the pharmacy last Friday morning. They were armed with a fire extinguisher, which they used to spray a customer with powder. And what were they after at the pharmacy? Not the takings from the till, but rather drugs: Pseudoephedrine, which is used to manufacture illicit drugs. Thanks to google, I found that a pharmacy association here has warned that offenders are finding an increasing number of ways to extract pseudoephedrine content from various prepared medications. Pseudo-runners have also created strong networks around Australia to enable substantial quantities of the product to be purchased and diverted to methamphetamine manufacture, according to the association.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Hi Cheryl....welcome back :-)

Love reading the blog and learning a little more about Australia....keep them coming!