Above: South Coast Register May 26th 2021 Welcome to the start of the electioneering campaign leading up to the September 4th 2021 Local Government elections. Over coming months you can expect to see current and prospective councillors tossing around promises like coloured confetti. They might don funny hats and big noses as a disguise to insinuate themselves to you and no doubt any in place presently will blow their own trumpet with tales of great accomplishments.
Current councillor, Jack Tait, who only received fourteen votes in the 2016 election under the Innes CAA ticket, has advised the South Coast Register that "with the budget in the black and not the red many local governments would bleed for what we have" advising that this year's budget surplus will be more than $1 million. "If they think the shire is moving slow they should look at what's happening everywhere else" Councilor Tait told the South Coast Register "We get our funding because when we apply for it they know we are going to do the work." The councillor, however, may have conveniently forgotten that $8 million of the Mackay Park project was admitted as blatant pork barreling. The councillor may have also forgotten that the grant application for $26.5 million from NSW Sports was denied and that the money was granted, without conditions, by the Premier and Local Member. Clr Tait might have also forgotten that the $25 million for the Mackay Park project from the Federal Government was granted ten days before the call for a Federal Election and that the required Full Business Case was therefore not required as a condition of application. He might have also forgotten that the Auditor General's investigation into the grant process that provided the funding was not as it should have been. The Councillor might have also conveniently forgotten that the $5.3 million dollar 'grant' for the 33km Coastal Walking Trail was gifted without an application being made and is included in the $177 million fast track funding that has gained national attention. With such 'mana from heaven' along with the Clyde River bridge reconstructions, the upcoming Moruya Bypass, the Spine Road completion and the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital, all of which had nothing to do with Eurobodalla Council in determination, Councillor Tait might be right in saying "local governments would bleed for what we have" but he should not lose sight of the how, and the why this mana arrived. Nor should he, and the other councillors lose sight of their negligible role in securing the estimated $950 million injection of taxpayer funds to the region. Eurobodalla councillors appear fixated at the moment with trumpet blowing. Only yesterday at council's May 25th 2021 meeting Councillor Rob Pollock said "If you would like to look at a comparative performance in any other similar Council that has faced these sorts of pressures [Bushfires, Floods and Covid] you will not see anywhere near the results that have been achieved by this organisation". It must come as a disappointment for our Palerang, Shoalhaven and Bega neighbours to learn that their performance was sub-par in comparision to that of the humble Eurobodalla. Prepare yourself for accolades and self-aggrandisements in the coming months as we approach September 4th.