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Sydney or the Bush …

Dear Beagle Editor, Your readers might be interested in our latest media release: Sydney or the Bush …

Just before Christmas, the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) questioned the justification for the cancellation of the Merimbula New Year’s Eve Concert at short notice, allegedly due to an administrative oversight in the planning process, in particular following the unsuccessful earlier attempt by NSW Police to have the event declared “alcohol-free”.

Neither NSW Police nor Bega valley Shire Council (BVSC) offered a satisfactory explanation for the decision, with comments from other local sources simply adding to the confusion around the issue.

The situation arguably moved from the sublime to the ridiculous following confirmation that the fireworks display in Merimbula would still go-ahead, but with the exact location of the display launch site being kept secret, with no explanation of that decision forthcoming either.

Of course, the secrecy around the planned fireworks display just added to the growing confusion amongst locals & holiday-makers visiting the town, who were already struggling to deal with the challenges of the new by-pass & the lack of public parking, with the latter giving rise to wholesale disobedience on the part of frustrated drivers, who parked wherever they could find a space, simply ignoring parking signage.

On New Year’s Day, a possible explanation as to why the New Year’s Eve concert was really cancelled started to emerge, with news reports claiming that thousands of extra Police had been deployed to manage the security requirements attached to the Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations.

NSW Police confirmed that “General Duties officers from Local Area Commands across the state & specialist units including Public Order & Riot Squad, Police Transport Command, Operations Support Group, Traffic & Highway Patrol Command, Licensing Police, Mounted Unit, Dog Unit, Marine Area Command & PolAir” were all involved in the security operations around the Sydney event.

The BVSRRA understands that in previous years, additional NSW Police were brought in to assist local Police in managing security around the Merimbula Concert.

So, some cynics might suggest that the decision to cancel the concert & to not disclose the launching site for the fireworks was entirely designed to avoid having a local event where the public might gather, thereby avoiding the need for Police to attend, let alone manage, the “event” (no location, no event)?

Based on the priority apparently afforded by NSW Police to the Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations, the BVSRRA can only wonder if the Merimbula Concert was just the latest in the long list of instances where the needs & interests of regional Australia have been sacrificed to the interests of the major capital cities.

Of course, some might still believe that NSW Police, BVSC & the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, are accountable to the public & would therefore understand the need for an explanation as to why they & holidaying visitors were so badly let down on New Year’s Eve?

Perhaps they are hoping that the underwhelming public response to this year’s display might have already caused them to move on? Or perhaps they don’t care, given the local Media shutdown, with the “local” ABC broadcasting from Bullamakanka & Fairfax not bothering to print a newspaper for 10 days.

Come to think of it, if we can do without the media for 10 days, maybe we could do without it altogether?

Talk about “Sydney or the Bush”!!

John Richardson


Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association

#Opinion #State #Council #Bega

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