Two ex-councillors have commented on the possible application for a rate variation by our Council. Quite a few years ago I served two terms on the Mudgee council.
Just before the election at which I was elected, the mayor lost his nerve and ordered the recently installed flowerpots to be removed because he thought they were unpopular.
My first term was in a council preoccupied with living within its budget and it didn't have much imagination about the town's future. In my second term the new mayor and councillors worked to improve facilities and the area's prosperity. This involved looking at a bigger picture and sometimes seeing expenditure as an investment rather than just a cost.
The work of that council laid the groundwork for turning Mudgee from a relatively backwater into a premium location in NSW.
Clearly this might mean our councillors and those preparing to nominate for the next election have to stand up for the future of our city and our surrounding communities and not be satisfied with cutting services especially the easy pickings or low-lying fruit which they probably don't personally use.
Are online transactions really in the interest of consumers?
University of NSW Canberra cyber security expert, Nigel Phair, has estimated cybercrime costs Australia's economy about $42 billion a year. Our bank advises in 2022 alone, 239,000 scams were reported in Australia with victims amassing financial losses of $568.6 million.
While I applaud the government for acting on this, I think the government should fix the cause rather than the effect. Organisations forcing or coercing us to do business online or through automated services are the cause.
Even though we have so-called protection layers in our transactions, we do not know which people or organisations are involved in these layers and which ones are harvesting our data or being hacked. The more people involved, the greater the risk. None of these online companies can truly guarantee our security.
Criminals are now using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to circumnavigate various layers of protection. Corporations and governments are using AI to combat cybercrime so it appears we are headed down a path where massive computer systems are doing battle on a winner-take-all basis, with the consumer carrying the risk.
Given the above, I have lost all confidence in the digitised world of finance and I have decided the greater the divide between the internet and our savings, the more I like it. I believe it should be mandatory for all organisations to provide the option of face-to-face transactions with equal benefits and no penalty. Cash and cheques should be retained.
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