resourcing of local healthcare services must be addressed and resourced AS A MATTER URGENT PRIORITY

The Beagle Editor, Now that the razzle-dazzle of the Berejiklian-Constance roadshow has come and gone in a twinkling, leaving breathless Councillors and Media in its wake, we feel that a good hard look is in order at what has been really achieved in respect the aims of the hugely subscribed Petition behind the Regional Hospital push and of the admirable and respected head petitioner Dr Michael Holland. First up, as the people who took the Petition down to Bega, we were personally extremely disappointed despite his receiving perfectly adequate prior notice, that Andrew Constance had evidently made an assessment that making personal time available for a media interview later that day apparently had a higher priority than receiving the “ONE” Petition backed up by 3000+ local signatories. Clearly our current Member had bigger and more important fish to fry. A brief courtesy apology by him for his absence to those (including two ladies) involved in going to the trouble might also not have gone amiss: But perish such a thought when massaging the media image is apparently what really counts. But we really should have been alerted to this likely outcome: Why? Because despite writing purely as a concerned member of the electorate to Mr Constance on precisely the same issues of critical under-resourcing of local healthcare services (as well as nurse/patient ratios) on 6 June 2018 and then a follow-up reminder of 24 July 2018, well before the “ONE” Petition had even been conceived, except for an initial acknowledgement of receipt slip four weeks later promising a response, no reply has ever been received, five and one half months later. Are politicians usually this shy? It’s certainly not the image we have been sold of our current State Member. Spending nearly a day in one spot collecting signatures for the Petition and hearing all the healthcare crisis stories of young and old alike, along with the frustrations of a patently under resourced frontline of heroic nurses and doctors pushed to near breaking point, left us with some very clear realities: We were only sorry that the politicians and senior administrators could not have been there to listen and learn. Clearly the time for talk is now finished and the local community want action on this crisis, and action NOW, not years down the track or cocooned in honeyed promises! And don’t shoot us: We only speak exactly as we have found, knowing that plenty more are ready to step up and take our place if that happened. Bluntly, people have lost their patience waiting for meaningful action. The petition numbers garnered in only three weeks does all the talking. And this leads us to our core concern. We made it an article of faith with those whose signatures we collected and talked to, and all those in the Petition we carried down to Bega, that core item #1 of the Petition concerning addressal and resourcing of serious shortfalls and gaps in local healthcare services must be addressed and resourced AS A MATTER URGENT PRIORITY immediately. We know that people signed this Petition with just as strong a focus on the ‘Here and Now’ part of the Petition ‘Prayer’ as the (equally important) down-the-road component of the regional hospital which will take years of planning. But what attention did the politicians and media direct to this crucial part of the Petition? Nary a whisper from all reports other than one brave soul amongst the media throng at the media doorstop who had obviously done his professional homework of actually reading the Petition preamble. And what response did his question get? Nothing remotely resembling a proper response respectful of the community on whose behalf he was raising the question, let alone any solid commitment to immediately address this critical issue. What astonishes us, bearing in mind Abraham Lincoln’s celebrated advice on the subject, is that politicians of any hue could still believe in our day and age that evasiveness or reluctance to tackle an issue could fool the ordinary voter? Such conduct does not, and is spotted a country mile off. And to ensure non-partisanship, this question applies to all sides of the political spectrum. If the current incumbents will not or cannot commit to tackling the current under-resourcing crisis that evading direct questions on the subject inevitably implies, then in this vacated space will the principal opposition step up to the plate and give the Eurobodalla community the rock solid commitments they (and their caring healthcare professionals) desperately need and so rightly deserve? Are those who should be, really and truly listening? We wonder? Come March next year all will be revealed. For whom will the inauspicious Ides of March prove fateful? Fitzroy and Mylene Boulting

Editors Note: EUROBODALLA HEALTH SERVICES PETITION 3,371 SIGNATURES! A huge response in a short time across our community.Postcode 2356 Batemans Bay, Pebbly Beach, Mogo, Malua Bay, Depot Beach, Batehaven, New South Wales, Nelligen, New South Wales, Surf Beach, Denhams Beach, Sunshine Bay, Guerilla Bay, Maloneys Beach, Bimbimbie, Durras North, Benandarah, Runnyford, Jeremadra, Currowan, North Batemans Bay, South Durras, Rosedale, Buckenbowra, Surfside, Long Beach, Lilli Pilli, Catalina, East Lynne, Batemans Bay, Woodlands 1064 signatures Postcode 2357 Moruya, Tuross Head, Broulee, Tomakin, New South Wales, Mossy Point, Moruya Heads, Meringo, Bingie, Deua, Mogendoura, Turlinjah, Bergalia, Coila, Congo, New South Wales, Kiora, Wamban, Deua River Valley, Broulee - Mossy Point 1481 signatures Postcode 2545Bodalla, Potato Point, Nerrigundah, Belowra, Cadgee, Eurobodalla 114 signatures Postcode 2546 Narooma, Bermagui, Tilba, Mystery Bay, Dalmeny, Wallaga Lake, Kianga, Dignams Creek, Wadbilliga National Park, Barragga Bay, Cuttagee, Akolele, North Narooma, Murrah, Narooma, Tinpot, Corunna, Tilba Tilba 595 signatures NSW (other) 77 ACT 29 VIC/QLD 11