Need to 'think big' to survive and prosper as a nation
AUSTRALIA has got to start "thinking big", urged Tweed Shire Australia Day Ambassador Iain Finlay in his keynote speech.
He suggested a solar energy project on the scale of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
A respected author, journalist and humanitarian, Iain said such a project could provide vast new energy supplies, hugely expanded infrastructure in the centre of the continent and significant social and economic benefits.
"If we want to survive and prosper as a nation, we've got to think in visionary terms," he said.
"Every single day a kilowatt of energy falls on every square metre of land, and that sort of solar energy is being tapped by countries all around the world on a growing, increasingly economic scale.
"We are the best country in the world to harvest solar energy."
As part of his address, the Tumbulgum resident also reflected on the indigenous history of the Tweed.
He said the divisions between rich and poor had grown, and that Australia needed a more egalitarian society.
"We've got to hang on to the Australian ideal of the 'fair go'," he said.
Commmunity all-rounder Doug Stinson picked up the title Ballina Shire Citizen of the Year.
He established the first Cancer Council NSW's Relay for Life in Ballina and has attended every year since 2003.
He has also been involved with numerous community groups including the Lions Club of Lennox Head, Lennox Head Surf Club, Alstonville Tennis Club, Alstonville Soccer Club and the Ballina District Community Services Association.
"There are so many good people out there," he told The Northern Star.
"People are doing good things constantly in our community.
"I meet so many inspirational, wonderful people.
"Cancer is a terrible disease but for some reason it just brings out the best in people.
"I really want to encourage people to take up volunteering. It's a great thing to do."
Other Australia Day Awards in the Northern Rivers went to:
Lismore Citizen of the Year - Barbara Boorman.
Ballina Senior Citizen of the Year - Beatrice Gray.
Byron Shire Citizen of the Year - Chris Hanley.
Richmond Valley Citizen of the Year - Brian O'Farrell.
Kyogle Citizen of the Year - Roslyn Knights.
Kyogle Senior Citizen of the Year - Vic Walters.
Woodenbong Citizen of the Year - Nan Krarup.