Shall we get fairdinkum?
A week ago I read with interest the 2017 New Year’s wish lists of our State Members for Northern Tablelands and Tamworth. The following is my modest 2017 wish list which I would like to share with your readers, the fine people of our region:
1) Raw water price equity for the Peel Valley and Tamworth City voters as promised prior to the 2011 NSW State election, ending discrimination, ensuring our regions businesses can remain viable and compete against others and attracting more businesses to our region;
2) A genuine Royalties for Regions policy like the WA Nationals version, mandating 25% of royalty revenue to be returned to the NSW regions where extractive industries occur, not the insipid red-tape policy we have now with rural NSW neglected and metropolitan regions receiving the lion’s share of benefits from those royalties;
3) State progress on the rail Intermodal freight centre proposed for Tamworth’s Glen Artney industrial estate and restoration of part of the Gidley-Appleby rail line to realise this excellent job creation project;
4) Progress on the second Gunnedah rail overpass and an audit of the project to provide voters with answers about the massive cost blowout;
5) Upgrade of the section of New England Highway goat track from Calala Lane roundabout to at least Craigends lane in South Tamworth and safety street light installation at the New England Highway (Goonoo Goonoo Road)/Greg Norman Drive intersection;
6) State funding to supplement already received Federal and Local government funding for the Northern Inland Sporting Centre of Excellence so our kids and junior athletes can be all they want to be and compete against metropolitan kids now, not some-time after the 2019 State election;
7) Infrastructure upgrades to our local public schools, cutting the infrastructure deficit. No further privatisation to TAFE and more pre-apprenticeship courses at Tamworth TAFE to help deal with youth unemployment and future job opportunities for school leavers in a competitive job market. Eight postcodes within the Federal electoral Division of New England are some of the poorest in Australia;
8) Tamworth electorate share of the $6 billion funding promised to rural and coastal NSW as a result of our State MP's June 2014 concurrence to electricity privatisation. The member for Northern Tablelands even conducted a publicised meeting with Local Government representatives in his electorate to identify shovel ready projects in anticipation of the funding;
9) No further Essential Energy or public sector redundancies because these do impact on our local economy and local families and are service cuts masquerading as savings;
10) A stop to further unnecessary privatisation of State assets which Mike Baird has no mandate to sell such as the proposed sale of our World class titling and plan registry service – Land & Property Information;
11) A fair dinkum decentralisation policy by our State government;
12) A voice for our region in opposition to major party policies which are detrimental to the future of rural NSW and a clear understanding by our rural MP’s the impact of service cuts to rural NSW which often relies heavily on services the NSW Government is keen to cut;
After almost six years of this government I have identified modest and achievable outcomes by our rural politicians should they choose to put rural NSW above their personal political careers and actually utilise the balance of power they possess in both houses of the NSW Parliament which has been gifted to them by the rural and coastal voters of NSW.