Mia Armitage Living in Paradise
Mia Armitage Living in Paradise

Living In Paradise

Andrew McLellan, 13th November 2019
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The so-called national homeless crisis continues to impact communities everywhere, from cities to regional Australia.

Bay FM’s Mia Armitage shares stories from the Byron area on the Northern Rivers of New South Wales.

Produced by Mia Armitage of Bay FM, Byron Bay.
Supervising Production by Angela Catterns.
 

Broadcasting this on your station? Email crn@cbaa.org.au for audio and cue sheets.

It's been fashionable to find and express gratitude for several seasons but still, I feel grateful each day I wake up with a roof over my head in what we call “Paradise”.
With endless rolling hills covered in rainforest, macadamia farms and old dairy stations, waterfalls, rivers and of course, the famous beaches, it’s impossible to deny the so-called “Rainbow Region'' is stunning. The Northern Rivers region of northern New South Wales, Bundjalung Nation, has many names.
 
But as industry, tourism and development impact the natural environ­ment, humans are starting to find their lives in Paradise precarious.

IMAGE: Property Manager Darren Bailey with some of Byron Bay's 'Tiny Homes'.

Too poor to pay
I was living in Mullumbimby three months before my landlord sold and the new owners wanted to double the rent. I’d already seen one neighbour, a single mother, sell what little she owned out in the street in one of the many, many "garage sales" in the region. They're fire sales - a last minute effort to shed weight, gather some cash and hit the road.
 
She left towards the end of autumn in her rickety old Rover, with her 12-year old daughter. She said they were going on a road trip. All the way to Tasmania. I grew up in Tassie and knew it would be freezing - it was coming on winter - but she said to me, “oh, we've driven around with icicles coming out of our noses before, we'll be fine”.
 
At first I was shocked but it wasn't long before I learned my neighbour was joining an expanding underclass of people too poor to pay the rent in Paradise. They live in tents, cars, on the street. I never saw my neighbour again but I hope by sharing similar stories and research, I can play a part in trying to prevent a generation of children growing up on the margins.
 
- Mia Armitage
 

This piece was made for the 2019 CBAA National Features & Documentary Series, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.

Produced with the assistance of the Department of Communications and the Arts via the Community Broadcasting Foundation.

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