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Editorial Dec 28th 2018


As 2018 draws to a close it is interesting to look back over the year and see what we have accomplished as a community. The first thing to notice is that there was a considerable flow of money into the area by way of promises and by way of grants. Possibly the most we have ever seen and will see again for some time to come. The grants are an understandable windfall. Every year we pay rates and taxes and every year the money goes into the buckets of government departments such as Building Better Communities or NSW Sport and Recreation and, depending on what submissions they receive, that bucket is allocated to the best applications. The same applies to the money from boat licences and boat trailer registrations. All into a bucket and then, based on applications by Councils for different projects the winning applications are given a grant. To anyone watching on this all seems fair. Shire folk pay taxes and fees and in time get some of it back. But wait. We only get it back if we ask for it and guess what ???? We don’t ask. The Council, who are there to best represent us, are worried that if we put up an application for a grant we might actually get it. Boat ramps, jetties, pontoons, fishing platforms, boating carparks; even fisherfolk toilets…. All go by because if we are lucky enough to gain a grant then the ratepayer is lumbered with the cost to maintain it, repair it and replace it. So the only time we get new stuff is when Council are pretty much forced to apply for a grant or to sign off on an application because the community are holding a political gun at their head. The political gun for Eurobodalla is the revelation that for every grant they don’t go for another council gets it. Other council’s seem to think that having new stuff for their ratepayers and visitors is good and builds a stronger economy. Sadly for Eurobodalla Council they have become the laughing stock of the fishing recreation folk up and down the NSW coastline. Sadly for us we don’t get stuff and if we do it is conditional on what Council wants and allows. Take for example a week ago. A much anticipated solar light, funded by fishing licences and secured by a hard fought grant application was meant to be installed, as agreed at Malua Bay boatramp right next to the fish cleaning table. Council had other ideas and moved it to a spot that better suited a carpark. This would be funny if it wasn’t typical of what they do. A fishing platform, funded once again, was installed at a point where there are NO fish and not at the spot where the recreational fishers had requested and been granted money to build. This lost much face for Council. Fortunately for the Shire though we do have a very hard working Member for Bega who secures State grants for various community groups and oversees those applications. This is good because Council can’t fiddle around with them and they are processed properly and when granted, carried out as per the expectations of the Member. Council runs the economic rationalist approach justifying its reluctance to seek out new assets by saying it can’t raise funds to maintain, repair or replace yet as soon as a grant is thrust upon them by State Government or Federal Government they forget their petty concerns and throw themselves in to accepting $26m here and a further $25m there for a $51m swimming pool project that is going to require shirtloads to maintain, repair and replace. I started out by saying this was a time when we have not had so much money thrown at our community via the State and Federal Government however the $500m in projects remain under the care and control of those governments. $300m for bridges, $46m for a bypass, $150m for a hospital. For these projects the ratepayers contribute nothing however the “generosity” of both the State and Federal Governments to projects such as the proposed Batemans Bay should be considered with caution. 2019 will see the lid ripped off this project as it is forensically dissected by the community who are forming the opinion that the new White Elephant as it stands at $51m is an election stunt we the ratepayer can not afford. Until next Lei

#Editorial #Weekly #Opinion #LeiParker

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