Tamworth’s date with the O’Farrell government’s cabinet provides an opportunity for some straight talking.
Mr O’Farrell and the government’s 21 ministers will be a captive audience for residents of Tamworth and the region and the face-to-face dialogue will result in some frank discussions.
Hearing it at the coal face is a genuine attempt by Mr O’Farrell and his team to take government to the people.
Tamworth is fortunate it has been included on the listening tour and should make the most of the opportunity.
While the 90-minute public forum will be brief when you break the time span down to questions asked and answers given, it provides Tamworth with the ideal opportunity to drive home its concerns about law and order issues impacting on the city.
It was unfortunate the Premier and other invited ministers could not attend the city’s second law and order public meeting in August. This forum enables the message from the community for more action to be driven home.
But what is of equal importance is that Tamworth also drives home the message that it is a happening city with a can-do attitude which is eager to receive some government support to build on its natural growth. Attracting new industries, or growing the ones we have, providing more employment opportunities which will enable the city’s population to grow should be on the forum’s agenda.
Tamworth Regional Council will also want to discus possible changes to the Local Government Act which have the potential to streamline how councils work and removing some of the blockades which restrict the effectiveness of local government.
But good government is about outcomes. The community will need to watch closely to see what comes out of the cabinet’s visit.
While the cabinet’s regional tour schedule is a good PR exercise, its real value will be determined by the government’s response to the issues raised.