The Beagle Editor, Your readers might be interested in our observation in light of the NSW State Budget being handed down. We read with interest in The Beagle pages that there was NO funding announced for the coming year for any road works on the Princes Highway south of Batemans Bay to the Victorian border through the electorate of Bega. on the nose …
The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) believes that a majority of people in the Bega Valley have stopped listening to their local state member, Andrew Constance MP, not because they’ve stopped liking him or that he & his government have done anything exceptionally evil when compared to any other.
No, the BVSRRA thinks that the electorate has simply become bored with Andrew: the “sameness” of what he has to say, the superficial knock-about persona that he so carefully cultivates, his arrogant dismissal of anyone who might question his perceived wisdom but, most of all, his willingness to take the community for fools.
The BVSRRA has lost count of the number of times that Mr Constance has announced …
the same new wave attenuator in Eden;
the number of times that he has said that he & the deputy Premier Mr Barilaro were “looking at” how funding for the development of the Bundian Way could be arranged;
the number of times we are reminded about the multi-million dollar expansion projects underway at Moruya & Merimbula Airports, initiated by his government with no community consultation & none of the normal strategic risk management studies being conducted that apply to other projects;
the number of times that his government has said that it is investigating arrangements to rejuvenate Pambula Hospital;
the number of times that he has announced the same new bike paths or similar “baubles”;
the number of occasions he has launched the “Connected Learning Centre” in Bega, to be located on the old Hospital site, boldly boasting how surprised the community will be when it is finished, but not understanding that their surprise stems from the fact that they have no idea what it is for, what it will do & what difference it will make to them, because they have never been consulted about it;
even the funding for the expansion of Twyford Hall had been previously announced;
So, when Andrew turned-up like the familiar lost relative on ABC Radio this week, intending to spruik the alleged $258m infrastructure investment included for his electorate in the just announced state budget, the only “new” good thing that he announced was funding for a new $650k fire station in Eden.
Now, the BVSRRA is not suggesting that the residents & ratepayers of the Bega Valley shouldn’t be grateful for new fire stations or other financial munificence bestowed on them by their local member, but with a state surplus of $3.5billion, the BVSRRA thinks that Andrew could have turned-up with a bit more than a new fire station for Eden to excite his electorate.
Not only that, while Andrew offered little that is new for the residents of the Bega Valley, his hackles rose in anger & he dismissed as “rubbish” a claim by the President of the NSW Local Government Association, Linda Scott, that funding for libraries had been cut by 18% & that state grants & subsidies for local government infrastructure had been cut by $25.2m.
Andrew really does seem to be struggling, with major infrastructure projects in Sydney coming-off the rails faster than he can announce new bike paths.
It was only a few months ago that the member for Bega was talking-up his government’s $800m infrastructure investment in his electorate (his office promised to give us a list of the projects making-up that amount, but it still hasn’t arrived). Then, some weeks later, it had dropped to $700m then, at the beginning of this month, it had shrunk to $600m, before this week tanking to just $258m.
And while there seems to be a growing gap in Andrew’s promises, there are those in our community who think that with a $3.5billion surplus, his government might be able to do just a little bit better than it has in supporting the creation of basic infrastructure, such as the much-needed Merimbula sewage plant & effluent reuse/disposal upgrade or funding the cost of water supply system upgrades, including filtration plants, on the shire’s four drinking water supplies so residents & ratepayers can at least enjoy access to an acceptable standard of drinking water.
The BVSRRA thinks that Andrew’s willingness to continually rely on the same old smoke & mirrors to secure his standing in the collective mind of the electorate is no longer working & that he is increasingly being seen as being “on the nose” as the local member.
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association