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Some of us in NSW remember what it was like to have a State minister that cared about their portfolio. We wipe a tear from our eye as we cast our mind back a couple of years and remember those days fondly. It is a shame that they let the internal bickering take over and ruin what was once a good government.
So let’s have a quick look at some of our current motley crew of NSW Ministers and how they care for their portfolio’s.
Our Environment Minister Robyn Parker declares that logging is good for koalas, and waits a couple of days before telling a community they have a deadly chemical spill in their neighbourhood. Risking the lives and health of every man, woman, and child in the area, we may not see the impact of this decision for years yet.
Adrian Piccoli, the Education Minister who just keeps on giving. He gave the disabled children of the state a lesson in apathy when he left them stranded by the side of the road after he took away their bus services. The poor kids were eventually tossed in the back of station wagons and the like, with no safety features like seat belts. What an utter disgrace. Adrian made up for it though by announcing he was cutting $1.7 Billion from the state’s education.
Greg Smith, the Attorney General who spends his time insulting victims of sex crimes whilst personally vouching for and singing the praises of their paedophile attackers. Smith was last seen removing your right to be silent.
Then we have George Souris, the Minister for the Arts, who seems to think that public masturbation is a performing art.
Pru Goward, Minister for Women, spent years allegedly showing her respect for wives by helping poor old Janet Howard out, supposedly doing the hard yards for Johnny. Earlier this year this Minister for Women shut down the NSW Woman Of The Year awards.
I shouldn’t be too hard on Jillian Skinner, NSW Health Minister, after all, she has managed to increase hospital bed numbers in NSW. However, this has been done by counting chairs in waiting rooms as beds, can you believe that? Apparently if you injure your foot or leg or something along those lines, and can be treated by a doctor in a waiting room chair, then that chair counts as a bed. If someone collapses on the floor and is treated, are they going to count the floor as a bed too? Seriously, what sort of imbeciles do we have running the place?
Cutbacks in NSW have got so bad that patients are being told to just wet their hospital beds because there is not enough staff to fetch a bedpan.
Where I live, in the North West of Sydney, we are lucky to have a Parliamentary Secretary and a Minister with our best interests at heart.
Our Parliamentary Secretary is a man by the name of Ray Williams, I actually have a category on my site with his name on it, due primarily to the sheer amount of bile that this man spews, and the utter offensiveness of his character.
Anyway, after questions were being raised by media that made Ray uncomfortable, he reportedly put his tail between his legs and fled the country. These questions involved his campaign manager, Greg Burnett, who was forced to stand down from his position as Hills Shire Mayor after allegations surfaced regarding a $280,000 embezzlement, allegations of branch stacking by Ray and memberships being paid for members, and Rays alleged involvement or knowledge of these events.
Ray resurfaced again recently at a Young Liberals night which has become rather notorious. After initially saying that Alan Jones did not make any comments re Julia Gillard’s fathers recent passing, he changed his mind after being told the event was recorded. Suddenly he had a vivid memory of the event turning noisy and he must have missed that bit where Alan insulted, in the most personal of ways, not just our PM, but every person in the nation with a shred of decency, including many of Alan’s advertisers it would seem.
With Ray as a Parliamentary Secretary, you would hope that the Minister for Western Sydney would look after us so there was no need to rely on second fiddle. You would be disappointed.
The NSW Coalition held their victory party in Parramatta after their election win, it was all part of the Coalitions promise to look after the West and North West of Sydney, particularly with infrastructure.
Since then, Sydney’s west has been overwhelmed with disappointment, to put it mildly.
In the North West, we have the much touted, over promised North West Rail Link. Before this failure of a project, under the watchful eye of Gladys Berejiklian, has even started, it has turned into light rail. This means the Epping to Chatswood line, a successful line built under the former Labor government, will have to be downgraded to suit what has already been dubbed the “North West Fail Link”. Local residents are now faced with the prospect of a 4km graffiti wall underneath a “SkyTrain”, which is funny, because local residents thought it was going underground.This state government has a great track record with above ground rail also.
Still, some of The NW Rail is underground, you may have seen the clips with animated trains going through the tunnel for the media broadcasts. These are pure fiction, the trains shown are two level, the tunnel is only big enough for a single level carriage. Does this mean we should be halving the Coalitions projected passenger numbers I wonder? Or does someone need to head to Bunnings and buy Gladys and Barry a tape measure?
Residents are now looking at the prospect of skyscrapers in residential area’s as the O’Farrell govt desperately tries to find funding to support his multi-billion dollar unfunded promise. Barry need population density to attract private investors.
When it comes to funding matters, it raises other questions about the level of care this State government has for those in the west also.
It seems also that the funding for the Parramatta/Epping line has been diverted elsewhere. Parramatta was desperate for this line, and the Federal Government was also throwing in the dollars to support it, but now, Parramatta has been left to clean up after O’Farrell’s victory party with nothing to show for it other than the knife marks in its back.
So who is the minister for Western Sydney? You may well ask. Who could be so apathetic to the needs of those who they are supposed to be looking after. Well, the Minister for Western Sydney is none other than Barry O’Farrell himself.
For those of you wondering where Barry’s imaginary funds are being diverted to, as it certainly isn’t education, one needs to look north.
The Pacific Highway upgrade is the supposed beneficiary. I am in no way saying that the Pacific hwy should not be funded, I am just saying that it should have been already budgeted for so that funds allocated to Sydney’s west did not need to be diverted. Those of us in the west and North West are being punished for the total lack of budgetary talent within a totally inept State Government.
However, upon closer inspection of Barry’s diverted funds, there seems to be a lot of smoke, and more than a few mirrors. A lot of spin and talk of diversion, but no actual dollars to speak of.
With that in mind, let’s have a little look at the absolute shambles that has been the coalitions dealing with the Pacific Highway upgrade, both at State and Federal level.
Back in the dark days of the Howard era, it was established that the Pacific Hwy was a state road, and the state should be held responsible for it’s upkeep. However, the Howard Coalition government managed to find some funding to help out the State Labor government, however there was a condition, as PM John Howard pointed out
“My Government’s preference remains for the duplication to be completed by 2016, in line with out 2004 commitment … if the NSW Government will match our financial commitment…”
The Labor government in NSW matched the commitment as requested.
In total over the 12 years the Howard regime was in power, during the biggest boom time our nation has ever seen off the back of the mining industry, the Federal govt under Howard manage to find $1.3Billion for the Pacific Hwy upgrade. This is despite it being labelled the “Highway Of Death” by Derryn Hinch due to so many accidents, particularly those involving buses and trucks.
By stark contrast, the Federal Labor government has managed to find $4.1Billion since 2007 for the highway during a global financial crisis. It’s not just about saving lives either, although that is clearly a priority for some governments, it is about investing in vital infrastructure. There is also $3.56 Billion is funding yet to come, making the Coalitions investment seem like something less than a token gesture. However this further $3.56 Billion is based on the NSW Coalition also showing commitment to the project to the same level.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has strongly pushed for the NSW govt to match the Federal govt in spending on the highway, but that was in opposition. Now that the Coalition is in government the story has changed considerably. Or is it just that they cared from the opposition bench? Now they have added responsibility they no longer care maybe?
To come up with money for the project, Nationals leader Warren Truss, and Premier and Minister for the Western suburbs hatched a cunning plan. Screw over those in the west that Barry represents and divert the $2Billion in Federal funding from the Parramatta/Epping rail link, and send it up north for the Pacific Highway, great.
Barry however forgot something rather important, he has already screwed over those in Parramatta, where he held his victory party. He told us all after he seized power that he was scrapping that project and putting the Federal money into the North West Rail Link. So Federal funding was taken away from the Parramatta link, now there is nothing to take away to devote to the Pacific Hwy. The Federal government can now only allocate $68Million as the money has been spent elsewhere.
The truly sad thing is, Barry couldn’t even use the money for the constantly changing North West Rail Link which is still yet to start construction. The problem is both Barry and his Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian don’t seem to realise that Sydney has a harbour. The stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that people will need to cross the harbour and address the need for a second harbour crossing. Preferring instead to dump the entire commuting public from the largest growth area in the country, the North West, onto the already congested North Shore line at Chatswood, a station where passengers often have to wait for the next train as they can’t fit on the first one that arrives.
Barry claims that NSW is being punished because Federal funding for infrastructure in NSW is low in comparison to other states, even those with Coalition governments. Here’s the thing Barry, when dishing out billions of dollars the bean counters at Infrastructure Australia probably like to see some things beforehand. Plans come to mind, direction is another nice touch, common sense is often smiled on, and a team of Ministers that seem vaguely capable would be a fine place to start.
Earlier I spoke of inept Ministers that are totally devoid of commonsense, or not at all capable of looking after their portfolio, or maybe just plan couldn’t care less who they trample on for a decent bit of spin or a soundbite.
To those of you who think you have it bad, spare a thought for those in Sydney’s West and North West. Out here we have a Minister with a knife in our back, and a parliamentary secretary that should have been sacked a long time ago, even if just to save the Premiers image.
I’m starting to wonder if Campbell Newman would be preferable. That is scary.
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