Editorial Feb 10th 2023
Welcome to this week’s editorial, Earlier this week a group of locals gathered at the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital site and unofficially turned the first sod of ground on the project. Why? Those assembled were there because they have been long term advocates for improved health resources in the region. Over the past decade or more they have worked tirelessly to best represent the region and say to the NSW Health bureaucrats and various Ministers of Health that the Eurobodalla hospital system required immediate action, as well as long term planning and facilities for an ever expanding population. Rather than working with the community, the past decade has resulted in a continuum of loggerheads where the bureaucrats and politicians of the day claim everything is in hand or counter that community demands are either ill-informed, unwarranted or beyond budget. And then they do another study to support their viewpoint. It’s an odd thing, democracy. At its heart are fair and reasonable expectations that taxes might provide for the things a country needs in order to deliver to its people. At the top of the list is access to Health, Safety, Education, Transport, and utilities such as water, electricity and sewer. Add to that the provision of shelter for all and a liveable income. We aspire to reasonable quality and are happy to pay taxes to deliver that quality. But what if the politicians and the bureaucrats deliver less? Or deliver elsewhere to favour the few. In a typical election cycle we vote a new mob in. It might well be a New Mob after they make lots of promises to do better than the last mob. Or it might be the Old Mob who swear black and blue that they did a terrific job last time, making a few more promises that they will probably fail to deliver on as well.
Alas, once the election is over the promises are all but forgotten and, if pressed, we are told that our expectations were too high. A Fair Wage for nurses? Improved Nurse ratios? Improved delivery of local emergency services? Improved openness, transparency, and measurable accountability of the decision makers. So many reasonable expectations that would bring improvements to lives across the country but instead what is delivered to the regions is below standard mediocrity. We remain the poor cousins to our city counterparts as we are dealt the trifles and hand-me-downs. I remember long ago being told that the best party to vote for in an election is the one most likely to win because, if your local member is part of the winning team then the “spoils of war” drift down from the heavens. Little did I realise then that the “mana from heaven” smelt like pork. It now appears that we have been the recipient of pork on more than one occasion. And at each time the pork arrived no-one said a thing to stop it. But each time that pork falls in our laps we should stop and wonder who has missed out, and who was more deserving than us but wore the wrong political colours. From the top down no-one in power says anything. There are no apologies for rorts and porks, nor for being caught. There are no apologies for actions and policies that ruin peoples lives such as Robo-debt. Nor are there any consequences other than a Minister “stepping down”. An ex-Prime Minister who told porkies to a nation still sits in parliament. The old saying of “not being able to lie straight in bed” doesn’t give one much faith in politicians, or the bureaucracy we all hope will deliver a better life, for all. All too often we hear on the news of the political deals, the gross waste of funds, the manipulations, the lies, the under table donations, and the favouritism given to one group over another. And we say little if anything, as we are rarely heard. And every election cycle we vote on promises that always fall short. This week saw a handful of locals attend the site of the new regional hospital. With shovels in hand they unofficially turned the first sod, delivering a message to those politicians who might want to stand at a dais and give out self-worth statements to selected media extolling their greatness and accomplishments whilst good people look on hearing nothing but bullsh*t and spin. But as there were no Ministers and senior bureaucrats present, nor main stream media, fixated on the 24 hour churn. Instead the event went pretty well unnoticed by the very people who should have attended. All we can hope for in the upcoming election is that we vote for the winning party because, by example, if you are on the opposition, you fare poorly unless you are so marginal you can be seduced next time around with baubles and glitter. The Parties might all say this is incorrect but alas the proof is there for all to see. It is human nature and we are tribal and not one mob can claim to be clean. May the best tribe win. Until next lei