Missing Inaction : Our Mayor
Where is the Mayor? We are in the middle of one of the most financially catastrophic times this shire has ever had and there is no sign of the mayor anywhere? If we go back to the bushfires Mayor Liz Innes was pretty much absent there as well. When the community needed leadership there wasn't much at all coming from our illustrious council. Bega on the other hand, thank god, had their Mayor front and centre keeping the community up to date on social media and on the radio but our mayor wasn't to be seen anywhere until the end of the first fires when she popped up singing along to Canberra Come Back and telling anyone who would listen to bring their Empty Esky. Local businesses were already doing it tough before the fires but they pushed through with whatever money they could muster hoping to reopen. The government grants helped quite a few to keep their heads just above water but there were quite a few who sank and didn't make it. To add to the pain came Covid. Once again business doors slammed shut. Locals were now on their uppers and the number of businesses that have now closed will only be realised once we open up again. But where is the mayor? While there is little she can say about Covid cases in the region there is a lot she can say about a road to financial recovery once the Lock Downs are over. Instead the community have declared her "Missing Inaction". Her very noticeable absence from her leadership role is becoming widely considered as an insult to ratepayers who are in need of leadership during this most difficult period. More and more often we are seeing Deputy Mayor Rob Pollock stepping in to fulfill the duties of a Mayor such as chairing Public Forums and officiating citizenship presentations. Liz Innes announced to WIN TV that she was not going to stand in the September elections. Since that announcement the only time we see her is when there is a council meeting. She doesn't bother showing up for Public Access and Public Forum sessions to listen to ratepayers. The Local Elections are scheduled for December 4th, 2021. Hopefully by that date the voting options will be sorted out with electronic, postal and polling booth processes worked out. The Mayor has said she won't stand for re-election in December 2021. But until then it appears we can expect the bare minimum from her while she continues to accept her mayoral fees, her mayoral car and her mayoral perks. All up valued at over $100,000 per year (or $1900 per week).
In terms of accomplishment there is little that the Mayor can lay claim to over the past five years. The injection of Government stimulus into the shire via the Batemans Bay Bridge, the Nelligen Bridge and the Batemans Bay pool and theatre has brought $370 million to the township of Batemans Bay however much of that has left the shire as well to outside contractors. Once complete these projects offer little in the way of ongoing local employment. Ahead is the Batemans Bay Spine Road at $30 million, the Moruya Bypass at $900 million and the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital at $200 million. Again these projects came from the NSW State Government. So what has Liz Innes achieved in her five years of being Mayor? Not much it appears. On June 24th 2021 "Cr Innes referenced the oyster hatchery at Moruya Airport, tourism industry projects and promotion of the arts as being what she was most proud of during her mayoral term." source It will take time to measure the legacy of Mayor Innes once the community is allowed out to see what remains. Her edifice of the "Gateway to the Shire" will be opened in early 2022 by a new mayor and a new council who will realise that they have inherited a facility that will heavily impose itself on the financial well being of the Council coffers. In the meantime we will continue to ask "Where is the Mayor?"
Where's The Mayor?