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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

ED opening by Premier in Moruya under the spotlight

The Premier, Dominic Perrottet, is scheduled to open the new Emergency Department extension on Friday morning (January 20th, 2023) to some very pointed questions around the staffing of the demountable extension that has been created to act as an interim transition towards the new Regional Hospital. Described by the Member for Bega, Michael Holland, as a "$1 million storage room" in December the subject of adequate staffing was raised when Dr Michael Holland and NSW Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park met healthcare workers outside the Moruya Emergency Department on December 1st, 2022. At the time Dr Holland said “This government like to point out the number of hospitals they’ve built, but it seems there are never enough staff to make them functional. Our hardworking healthcare professionals are the ones that provide lifesaving care and this government have not supported them.” "Hospitals across the country have been overwhelmed, under-resourced and severely neglected by the NSW Liberals and Nationals – but particularly in regional and rural NSW. "Underfunding, capped wages and poor conditions have compounded over the years leaving our health system in crisis and staff leaving the profession in droves. While there might be accolades on the opening of the facility The Premier might have to answer some hard questions around his government's commitments, actions and funding to address the issue of wages, nurse ratios and the failure to anticipate the universal lag times with employing new personnel. The Premier has missed the multiple protests held by nurses in the South East. Had the Premier dared to venture south he would have discovered hundreds of our nurses across the region walking off the job. Along with midwives it was a direct call to the Premier, calling for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios and an end to wage caps.

Photo: Moruya Mail After the Premier cuts the ribbon and does his electioneering piece to camera for the six o'clock news he will be attending an invitation only lunch in Narooma. Most likely, for the interest of our Bega readers, the Liberal Candidate for the seat of Bega will be there to meet and greet key Narooma business leaders. The Bega Mayor will probably not raise the issue of his Council's proposed rate rise. In February 2022 the Bega Mayor was calling on the NSW Government to address the funding crisis caused by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) decision to set the rate peg for the 2022-23 financial year at 0.7%. His comment at the time was “This latest decision from IPART means we will need to make further cuts to our core services next financial year unless the Government intervenes—cuts the community can’t afford us to make, particularly as we are still recovering from the compounding effects of the Black Summer bushfires, multiple floods and COVID-19—but we currently have no other option". “We are also calling on the NSW Government to fund the gap between the 2.5% rate peg increase we were expecting and the 0.7% increase actually provided. The sustainability of local councils is at stake and we need the NSW Government’s help". Like many council's across NSW that government help was not forthcoming. Now the Bega Mayor is going to the ratepayers to meet the shortfall of lose services. The irony is that the government he holds responsible for the predicament is the same government he now wants to be a member of. ABC South East NSW reported in November 2022 that the Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick, had been preselected as the Liberals candidate for the seat of Bega in the March 2023 state election. Mayor Fitzpatrick told ABC South East presenter Simon Lauder this morning that he was throwing his hat in the ring for state politics saying "I'm pretty excited about that." "I don't believe in the team blue or team red. I'd just like to have a crack." "I'd just like to see more advocacy from our part and it's very hard as a councillor, and even as mayor, to get things achieved that you want to achieve," he told ABC South East. His comment about not believing in in Team Blue or Team Red might not have been well thought out given that the Liberal Party voters DO believe in Team Blue and have very strong opinions about Team Red, Team Green and Team Anybody who might beg to differ. As a consequence of Team Blue stepping in to assist Councils with the funding gap created, and perpetuated by IPART it will be interesting if the Liberal Candidate panders to his leader or stands up for his community and call out the government's failures when it comes to taking responsibilty for those matters that are NOT local and rest with the State. Hopefully whilst the Premier is in the region he will call in to say hello to the Eurobodalla Mayor, Mat Hatcher, and offer some immediate State provided solutions to the rising tide of homeless in the Shire. Mayor Hatcher wrote to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet in December, outlining the seriousness of the situation and asking the Premier to urgently find housing appropriate to the needs of the people currently making the Moruya North Head campground their home.

The campground is managed by Eurobodalla Council, who is allowing the growing number of people living there to stay beyond the NSW Government’s mandated 50-day per year rule.

Mayor Hatcher said Council is showing discretion and compassion in not enforcing the regulation because there is nowhere else for people living there to go.

“The NSW Government is responsible for crisis and social housing, and they must step in and help us solve this issue,” he said.

“These are primitive campgrounds, meaning there is no permanent hot water or enclosed showers. They simply aren’t a suitable place for people to be living permanently.”

Council has been working with local homelessness agencies and case managers are visiting the campground weekly, where more than 50 people experiencing homelessness are currently living.

“The local agencies are doing great work in terms of providing support, but what no one can offer right now is a suitable place for these people to live,” the Mayor said.

“We need the Premier to act quickly. The NSW Government could buy a motel or a block of units to temporarily house people in a crisis.

“The situation has become critical and now is the time for the NSW Government to do something.

“I don’t want people living in freezing cold tents again this winter and the local council installing temporary hot showers to provide some small comfort and dignity.

“In Australia in 2023, everyone should have a roof over their head and the security of a place to call home.

“I’m asking the Premier to provide this basic human right for the people living at North Head campground.”

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NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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