Letters to the editor

With a quarter of 5-17-year-olds overweight, the Confederation of Australian Sport is backing a call to action.
With a quarter of 5-17-year-olds overweight, the Confederation of Australian Sport is backing a call to action.

Where Old Friends Meet demise

Sad to learn of the end of a remarkable feature of Tenterfield community life.

Especially poignant remembering the splendid item the members staged at last year's Quota Concert.

It was a delightful and simple but profound recognition of the good values presented by the wonderful people - past and present - who participated over the years.  

An understandable decision, quietly and gracefully done as expected of those special women.

Jane I’Ons, Tenterfield

Call to action

I am writing to specifically ask readers to demand that more action is taken on promoting exercise in Australia.

Shocking figures show 3.2 million children are not doing enough exercise to meet health guidelines. Twenty-five per cent of 5-17 year olds are overweight.  My organisation – the not-for-profit Confederation of Australian Sport – is asking the Federal Government to develop a new national campaign to unlock the real potential of Australian sport.

Readers can help by asking their local MP to find out what they are doing about this issue and why more isn’t being done.  The reality is 14 million Australians now don’t meet physical activity guidelines. 

Conversely, if we saw a 15 per cent jump in the number of people meeting guidelines within five years – as the result of a new national campaign – much would change.  Thousands of lives would be saved.  Millions of dollars to the Australian economy would be saved. A cross-sector approach involving the Health, Education and Sport sectors is needed to ensure success and much of this work has already be completed.

We have been working in the field for 30 years and we know there has been a decline in physical activity in schools.  The bottom line is we need leadership from the Government on this issue.   We have over 20,000 local community clubs that can be harnessed to make a difference.

We ask readers to back our call that it is time for the Government to act.

Rob Bradley

CEO, Confederation of Australian Sport

Restorative practices benefit everyone

Ensuring the best possible treatment of our young offenders is not only beneficial for young people, but is also in the best interest of the community.  Currently the imposition of our criminal justice system is falling short of expectations of justice.  I strongly believe that the use of restorative justice as an alternative to punishment is the way forward in reducing harm.

Australia’s criminal justice system does not encourage community growth and acceptance.  Of the juvenile offenders released from prison in 2013, 76 per cent reoffended within the next two years. How can we expect our young people to improve and become upstanding citizens when we lock them away and doom them to a life of being stuck in a cycle of crime?

Restorative justice treats a crime as a violation of people and relationships, through this justice offenders are forced to acknowledge their actions and the impact it has on victims, society and themselves. 

Not only does restorative justice see positive outcomes for the offender as they are rehabilitated, but also the victim - who sees things put right.  Restorative justice is the only method that allows the offender to see the impact they have on the victim and the community. 

Restorative justice is proven to engage offenders back into education, reduce drug and alcohol use, reduce recidivism, and encourage the community to take part in the justice system.  The key to safety in our community is not locking away offenders, but helping them to become productive and valued members of society.

Father Chris Riley

CEO and Founder of Youth Off The Streets