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Editorial June 18th 2021

Welcome to this week’s editorial, Hopefully you are travelling well and life after the bushfires, floods and Covid are returning to an odd version of “normal”. Folks are stating to venture out a bit, the Government Dining and Discovery vouchers have encouraged many of us to go out for a meal, visit a wildlife park or take in a movie. They were designed to stimulate the local economy and from all accounts it appears to have done the trick with most of our local businesses back on deck and trading. There is an underlying reality though that must be recognised. During the past year or more many of our local businesses lost their momentum. They weren’t able to trade and because of that they weren’t able to further develop their business plans, reduce their debts and most critically continue to employ their staff. Fortunately we had JobKeeper kick in that helped fill the void for many in our community who lost precious hours and still needed to pay the bills. Ours is an area that has a very high under-employment rate because we are so seasonal in our tourism sector. But from the adversity of Covid something quite unexpected happened. We became popular. City folks wanted to leave their mad lives of hustle and bustle, of two hour commutes, pollution and unrealistic housing prices, and they came, in their hundreds to make new lives in our region. For those who are coming out of Covid hibernation you will see more traffic, more people, and certainly more vibrancy in our normally very quite shops that see so few through their doors in winter. As is being said up and down the coast “we have been discovered”. This is reflected in property prices, the increase demand for services and the momentum we are now seeing to open up more land for development. Eurobodalla on the move. It is therefore most surprising to learn that the new regional hospital that is now being designed to be fit for the future in anticipation of the population swell and the need for ancillary services from maternity to radiology is being downgraded from what was promised to what will be delivered. Even the word ‘hospital’ is knowingly being dropped from any reference to the $200 million project, instead calling it a Health Service. The reality is that all of our new arrivals have already realised that we don’t have enough trades folk to meet the demand for new housing, we don’t have enough medical staff to meet day to day needs in our hospitals and it is nearly impossible for a new resident to find a doctor with room on their books. Someone once said “if you build it they will come”. On the south coast we are learning all too quickly that they have come and we haven’t built it. A new bridge and a new bypass might be nice to ease traffic congestion but the key issues have been overlooked. Available, affordable health as a priority, affordable housing for those renters ousted by the property boom and meaningful, long term employment for our community and especially our youth. Until next – lei

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