Letters to the Editor || Where do we stand now? || Mark Rodda

Mark Rodda.
Mark Rodda.

I refer to the article titled “Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson ready to tackle 2018”, NDL, about the Member for Tamworth’s 2018 plans for his electorate.

I believe that the role of Australian governments is to enhance our future with a suite of policies that preserves our lucky AUSTRALIAN way of life, economic prosperity that is shared with all socio-economic groups in the community, policies that enshrines the health, education and wellbeing of the people both rich and poor, not just the affluent, party donors and corporations. 

It appears to me that Kevin thinks the only measure of his Government’s performance is the delivery of dollars for local infrastructure projects.  While they no doubt benefit our communities, I believe that this is but only one part of the balance of good government and being a good MP means recognising that sometimes you need stand for something, even cross the floor, as I will now explain.

The fine people of NSW are being crippled by record high energy bills caused by the naive and irresponsible decision of the Nationals to cave into the Liberals electricity privatisation agenda back in June 2014. High electricity charges keep breaking records and undermines the sustainability and the profitability of regional businesses and are undoubtedly detrimental to pensioners and families. 

One small business I know has had their electricity bill double from $1,500 per month to $3,000 since privatisation of our monopoly assets. No answer from Kevin’s Nationals who caused this disaster by supporting the privatisation agenda and still precious little seen of the $6 billion promised for their support of privatisation, trickling into rural electorates.

Families, pensioners and businesses have been fed to the wolves without any genuine relief in sight.  Added to the calamity around 2,000 Essential Energy workers are now redundant, all in rural NSW.  Imagine the multiplier effect on the economies of small rural towns like Barraba, Bingara, Manilla and indeed Tamworth and elsewhere from lost workers, lost families and lost salaries.

To demonstrate one appalling decision, Vales Point power station near Lake Macqaurie was sold by Kevin’s National and Liberal Parties for $1 million to a former Federal National Party candidate – Trevor St Baker, that same power station is valued at over $700 million. How has this dubious transaction been lucrative for the people of NSW?

Former Premier Mike Baird flees parliament for a plum $2 million bank job, the same bank that recently had produced a multi-billion dollar profit but then plans to sack thousands of staff.  But, before he fled Parliament he undermined the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) increasing the number of commissioners required to agree to investigate corruption to three and then went on to cut its funding, effectively blunting the role of ICAC and essentially giving the green light to corruption in NSW.  

As if we hadn’t seen enough corruption from the previous government!!

The Government flogs off what was the former Land Titles office for $2 billion risking the world class Torrens Title system only to propose to waste the proceeds on demolishing stadiums in Sydney, one of them just 17 years old when there are countless worthy infrastructure projects around rural NSW.  

This Government hasn't even produced a business case for perusal by the people of NSW to justify their spending two thousand three hundred million dollars ($2.3 Billion) of taxpayers' money. They cower behind cabinet/commercial in confidence provisions as though the people of NSW don't deserve an explanation for the spending of their money.

There is no decentralisation policy. This Government has abandoned rural NSW preferring to mitigate the effects of metropolitan overpopulation by spending billions resuming properties in Sydney rather than investing equitably in the future of rural NSW with services and job opportunities. Opportunities that would lure people back to the bush.

As for TAFE NSW, the Government has all but ruined it by dramatically increasing course fees to many thousands of dollars putting courses out of reach of many rural people. We can glimpse the social issues from that policy failure. The Advanced Diploma in Accountancy I completed some years ago now more than $8,000.  The Liberals and Nationals have effectively Americanised our education system! Will public schools be next?

Additional slots to Macquarie Banks’ Sydney Airport are difficult to obtain for rural flight services but not difficult if you are a National Party MP hitching a ride prior or after a by-election, or lucky to receive a handsome donation from Rex Airlines, friends in high places.

Medicinal Marijuana for our sick has been hijacked; for I fear, only to the benefit of major party corporate pharmaceutical donors.

This Government is recklessly signing public-private agreements for the provision of goods or services, the issue is they will lock taxpayers and future governments into such agreements for many years, decades even and should a future government wish to extricate itself from the agreement, will be punished with multi-million dollar penalty clauses.

The disappointing aspect of the NSW government and the issues I have highlighted here including out-of-control cost of living pressures, is that in opposition the Liberals and Nationals would have vehemently argued about the impact on rural people, now deafening silence. In Government we see a disingenuous and blasé performance. 

Little wonder thinking people are frustrated with the performance of our major parties.

Mark Rodda, 

Tamworth

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