Welcome to this week’s editorial, Another big week goes by. Last weekend the Eurobodalla Business Awards were announced celebrating the many committed and talented business leaders we have who contribute to holding together the warp and weft of our community as primary employers as well as being exceptional service providers. It was terrific to see the Batemans Bay Chamber of Tourism and Commerce receive the Chamber award for their Herculean efforts over the year and for once again reminding us that, at its heart, it is volunteerism that plays a considerable role in the dynamics of our community. Initiatives such as the Sculpture on Clyde, Granite Town, The River of Art and The Narooma Oyster Festival all require a commitment from volunteers to see the events happen and become the success that they are. This was recognised by Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, in his speech at the Business Awards last Saturday. Andrew comes under a lot of fire as a member of the State Government and his name is often mentioned in the many articles and comments in The Beagle. Sometimes favourably, sometimes not. When he makes an announcement of funds for infrastructure he is cheered by some and castigated by others— the Negatives declare the funding has gone to the wrong place, been the wrong amount, fails to deliver the right solution or is considered to be an election ploy. Every man and his dog has an opinion and takes their turn to stand up and has a go. Often their perspectives are based on perceptions. Andrew in the meantime just moves ahead and very rarely rebukes the naysayers. He gets on with it. This week we heard from Mayor Liz Innes announcing that the Eurobodalla has received $300 million in recent years from the State Government. What many don’t realise about the funding that the State Government provides our community is that there is a continual stream of funding made available from various grants (provided for by taxes) that have to be applied with the final determination made by officers of State Agencies under set protocols. Whilst Andrew, as a Minister, can offer assistance in advising of grants, directing council to the best officers to discuss applications and also writing letters of support, most of these grants are out of his control. The other thing that is also out of his control are the planning policies of his government that are outside of his own portfolio. We have seen him, on many occasions, go in to bat for the community and “cross the floor” to a ministers office and make a face-to-face appeal on our behalf. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t . There are many in the community who have an opinion about Andrew, and though they might not like the politics of his party it can not be ignored that he attends countless local public meetings and community events and generally makes himself available for those issues that he can represent. This is not a testimonial of the Liberal party but a recognition of an aspect of Andrew Constance that many tend to overlook; and that is to be a representative of your community you need to commit a life to it that does pull and push, that does win friends and garner enemies, but at its heart is the passion and spirit of place, and community that drives you on. With an upcoming election it will we will see one party call out the other on policy but we have to remember that politicians are people—and should be treated accordingly Play the policy and not the person. As for the result… I hope whoever is elected continues to represent the heart and spirit of our community. Until next …. Lei
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