The Beagle Editor
Recently our Council the Elected Councillors adopted the 2017 –18 budget, management and delivery program funded by the shire's residents and taxpayers money. Preparing the budget etc, takes some time and is a continuing process prioritising projects for future funding allocations. Some matters are identified years in advance, up to 20 perhaps, before the funds are able to be allocated and “delivery” begins. The Spine Rd at Batemans Bay a very good example. Talk of that began in the 1980’s and there is still some way to go before it’s completed and able to be fully used. One of the unfortunate things with the Budget and Delivery programs has been the lack of empathy apparently being shown towards the Homeless and Affordable Housing in the Shire. Something that has been vaguely talked about over time but never really taken seriously by the Elected Councillors and their advisers.
What has occurred is advice offered that "it’s a State Government Matter". That is not necessarily the correct attitude because the elected councillors and council staff are given delegated authority to represent all the shires residents and assist with solutions to all the shires residents problems in a sensible way. So what are they doing about the social issues of the shire? Is any sort of advocacy work occurring seeking assistance from the state Government about affordable housing and homelessness matters ? Many years ago a general manager at the time along with the mayor of the day were of the opinion that if people couldn't afford to live here then they should just move on to where they can afford to live. The recent census figures reveal that Eurobodalla has become that place. On the coast we are now at the bottom in terms of house prices, economic growth, high CenterLink dependency. What is happening now is that there is a fresh interest to the area causing an upsurge in real estate values as investors and sea changers discover the shire but because those new owners are predominantly self funded retirees they are not creating new business and the investors are looking for good returns which does little for helping the bottom end of the rental market who they have no interest in.