In what can only be described as a snubbing the Grand Opening of the Batemans Bay pool . today at 12:30pm will see Jim Molan, Liberal Senator for New South Wales attend the ribbon cutting representing the Federal Government's grant of $25 million. The Federal grant was embroiled in allegations that the Regional Communities scheme was flawed with evidence of pork barrelling and "Captain's Call" allocations to marginal seats. Standing beside Molan cutting the ribbon will be the NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin, who became the Minister in December 2021 after Don Harwin announced he didn't want to be Minister any more. Hopefully he will be mentioned fondly by Minister Franklin as it was Mr Harwin who allegedly pork barrelled the $8 million for the 350 seat theatre. The third ribbon cutter will be Eurobodalla's new mayor, Mat Hatcher representing the $19 million community finance that was committed to the $70 million project. With the considerable Federal and State funds injected it is disappointing that our local Federal member, Fiona Phillips was not invited to be involved formally as she was instrumental in ensuring the project remained on track after Liberal member Ann Sudmalis resigned from government after announcing on 17 September 2018 that she would not contest the coming election, blaming what she called ego-driven bullying, betrayal and backstabbing within the Liberal party (1). Hopefully Mr Molan might make tribute to the initial efforts made by Ms Sudmalis to see the $25 million Federal grant applied for. The official, invitation only, ceremony to mark completion of construction of The Pav, as it is now commonly referred to, will commence with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, a performance by the Muladha Gamara dancers, and followed by remarks from:
Senator Jim Molan AO DSC
NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon Ben Franklin MLC
Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher
Around 70 people are expected to attend including representatives of the project team, local companies involved in the construction, user groups and key community stakeholders. It is understood that there may be protestors present with placards protesting the expense of the project, the failures in consultation, and the replacement of a 50 meter pool with a 25 meter pool. Adding to the protest it is understood that pork sausages will be cooked to infuse the air with the essence of pork, in reference to the funding.
The Pav opens to the public on Saturday 4 June.