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Gilmore: first stop for the Scomo election trail : but will he come back to Cobargo?

Scott Morrison will be making an appearance in Nowra today where it is expected he will announce a $40 million package to upgrade roads in the electorate. In tow will be his endorsed candidate, Andrew Constance who resigned from State Government mid term causing a by-election that saw the Liberals suffer an embarrassing loss and a win by Labor of the seat of Bega. The $40 million package to upgrade roads is little more than a sugar hit to seduce Gilmore voters into voting for the once Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and Minister for Roads who was in the position to have lobbied the Federal Government for the urgently needed funds anytime over the past five years. Gilmore observers note that the Federal money dried up in the electorate after Labor's Fiona Phillips took the seat following the resignation of Liberal Anne Sudmalis that was embroiled in stories of bullying and factionalism. Scott Morrison decided to parachute in Warren Mundine to contest the seat and the electorate saw the move for what it was. Gilmore is now held by Fiona Phillips by a margin of 2.6%. In hearing of the announcement social media has lit up with comments that remind voters that the liberal candidate was the NSW Minister for Transport and Roads and that the South Coast roads are "absolutely deplorable!" Voters urged to read between the lines of what is being said. On April 8th,2022 Andrew Constance posted this message to his Facebook page:

In reading the post one might come to the conclusion that, because Andrew Constance wrote a letter, the black spots will now be fixed. It is all there in a single sentence. He says "It is not an election promise, it's delivered". That sentence implies that he delivered, and that it is not a promise. But what role did he play other than recently writing a letter? The photo below is with Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, the Minister in charge of the Regional Connectivity Program. The decision of where the funding is allocated is, fortunately, determined by an independent panel and not by way of political favouritism as has been seen in recent years around sporting grants. While able to make a Round 2 announcement it appears that Ms McKenzie has chosen to use the occasion as an electioneering marketing opportunity for the local Liberal candidate. This is to be expected however, when it appears as news, it is important to give it a context for those in the community intelligent enough to want to know more.

Above: Constance and McKenzie at a photo shoot on the Princes Highway at Benandrah

FACT CHECK: The allocation of funding is meritorious based on the priority assessed by an independent panel. This section has been long identified and, based on priority, has now been considered. Further funding will be required and Telstra will be lobbying for that funding. Your writing a letter is admirable however it was the community and others who have been advocating for years for this and their efforts MUST be recognised. This funding is not attributable to the generosity of the Liberal government and therefore, as such, neither of you have the right to imply it is.

The community have long petitioned that the lack of towers along the highway create missing links resulting in mobile reception blackspots. In their continued submissions they have highlighted the importance of the need for as the upgraded phone reception will make the road safer, filling in these gaps and providing complete coverage from Batemans Bay to Ulladulla The lobbying by the wider community identified the towers as key for emergency services, particularly in the event of car accidents and natural disasters where it is critical for people to be able to reach those services.

The Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips has been a strong advocate for the towers, supporting those who made submissions made to the recently announced Round 2 of the Regional Connectivity Program which are assessed and awarded by an independent panel.

In a media release issued April 11th it says "Having written a letter of support for Telstra’s now successful application to build the two new towers, Mr Constance welcomed this result."

This statement, and the original Facebook post have been called out by The Beagle.

If you see anything, by any party or candidate, that you feel requires Fact Checking then be sure to drop us a line.

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