News and announcements from the NSW Election trail in the seat of Bega are overwhelming. A contest of ideas and for votes is in full swing.
Here’s a nuts and bolts snapshot of what happened this week in the run-up to March 23.
Andrew Constance, Member for Bega, Liberal:
New police station for Bega
“Bega’s crime fighters will soon have a new base with the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government investing $13 million for a new police station.”
“Our local police will now have the best facilities and resources to proactively prevent and disrupt crime – funding which has only been made possible because of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s strong financial management,” Mr Constance said.
“It’s not just a win for Bega either; this station will also support law enforcement in other areas of the South Coast including Merimbula and Eden.”
Batemans Bay erosion taskforce
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton and Member for Bega Andrew Constance announced the NSW Government will establish a task force to tackle erosion along the Batemans Bay waterfront.
$5 million in funding has been reserved to help find a solution.
“The NSW Government will lead the study with an immediate grant of $250,000 to fund an urgent options study,” Ms Upton said.
“We are acting fast to address the urgent concerns of residents on the northern shore of Batemans Bay including Wharf Road, Surfside and Long Beach.
“We need to examine engineering solutions in consultation with affected residents, Roads and Maritime Services and the council.”
Mr Constance said, “It is important we identify options to address coastal inundation, drainage and potential groundwater issues in the area.
“The only way to achieve a practical and scientifically rigorous solution is by working together across governments and with communities.”
Fishers supported in Eurobodalla
Andrew Constance has announced a new large recreational fishing platform in Batemans Bay and more accessibility for recreational fishers in the Batemans Marine Park.
“I am also pleased to announce a large new Batemans Bay recreational fishing platform – custom made for fishing with rod holders, fish cleaning and wash down facilities, security lights, toilets, underwater fish attractant lights, and audio visual equipment to monitor responsible fishing,” he said.
The NSW Government will also fast-track consultation on a range of issues, including opening no-take zones such as Montague Island, Brou Lake South, Wagonga Inlet and Nangudga Lake.
“I am also keen to see what can be done on the western side of Toll Gates as well, where a lot of sandy bottom areas are locked away without any reason to do so,” he says.
Further to this announcement, DPI will issue a research permit to access Sea Urchin barrens shortly.
Due to the environmental impacts of sea urchin barrens, new research on environmental protection and restoration will commence in sections of the Marine Park this month.
Far South Coast to benefit from 5,000 extra nurses and midwives
“In the largest workforce boost in the history of Australian healthcare, patients will gain an extra 5000 nurses and midwives under a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government, including an additional 203 new staff in the Southern NSW Local Health District,” Mr Constance said.
“Patients on the Far South Coast will now have more nurses to look after them and nurses will have more colleagues to share the workload – all due to our strong economic management,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Under the plan, in Southern NSW Local Health District at least 203 new staff will be hired including 8 doctors, 147 nurses and midwives, 23 allied health staff and 25 hospital support workers.
Cultural burning funding in the Bega Valley
Region Media also approached Mr Constance for comment on concerns raised by the Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Aboriginal Land Council CEO Glenn Willcox says, “A lack of promised funding means a ground-breaking cultural burning land management program, understood to have reduced the impact of last year’s devastating bushfire on parts of Tathra, may not continue in 2019.”
“An unfulfilled funding commitment may leave the organisation’s trained crew unable to plan or implement this important work on its landholdings that neighbour residential properties.”
No response has so far been received.
Leanne Atkinson, Country Labor candidate for Bega:
Disability advocates still fighting for their future
“A Daley Labor Government will permanently restore funding for disability advocacy services across
NSW to ensure that their specialist work can continue, rather than splurging $2.2 billion on stadiums.,”
Acting Shadow Minister for Disability Services, Kate Washington said.
Leanne Atkinson called on Premier Berejiklian to immediately restore funding on behalf of people with disabilities on the south coast.
“The disability sector is getting more and more complex for local participants, and it is taking a toll.
“Too many people are falling through the cracks.”
10,000 more homeless under Liberal-National Government
According to Labor, analysis by the independent NSW Parliamentary Library of the most recent 2016 census data shows that the number of homeless people has jumped by 10,236 since the NSW Liberal and National Government was elected in 2011.
“Census data shows that there were an estimated 235 homeless people living in Bega at the time of the 2016 census, up 23.7 per cent from 190 in 2011. This a rate of 33.7 homeless people per 10,000 persons,” Ms Atkinson says.
“Vulnerable people in this electorate are crying out for better services and support from their government.
“A Daley Labor Government will build more affordable housing through mandatory affordable housing targets on new developments, and will not splurge $2.2 billion to knock down and rebuild Sydney stadiums.”
More Police for the Far South Coast
“I’m proud to announce that a Daley Labor Government will hire an additional 53 new police officers in the South Coast command,” Ms Atkinson says.
“From Batemans Bay to Eden, people have been telling me that they need more police in our community.”
More Nurses for South Coast Hospitals
“A Daley Labor Government will oversee the largest injection of nursing staff into NSW hospitals in a generation with more than 5,500 nurses and midwives to deliver mandated nurse to patient ratios,” Ms Atkinson says.
Labor Leader, Michale Daly said, “Currently, in NSW, there is no requirement for nurse to patient ratios in public hospitals. Labor’s plan will see thousands more nurses in regional hospitals.”
New independent body for rec fishing licence fees
“There are so many passionate anglers here on the Far South Coast,” Ms Atkinson said.
“A lot of them have been telling me that they’re fed up with paying their licence fees and seeing the money disappear into NSW Fisheries.
“It was great to welcome Michael Daley MP, Mick Veitch MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC to Batemans Bay to announce that NSW Labor will establish a new independent body to provide real oversight over the use of recreational fishing licence fees.
“This will give local anglers a real say in how that money’s used to support rec fishing across NSW.”
Will Douglas, Greens candidate for Bega:
“Your readers might be interested in hearing of some of the more topical pronouncements made at last Sunday’s Meet The Candidates forum at Bermagui.
“Mr Constance again expressed unequivocal support for the rollover of Regional Forest Agreements despite vocal dismay from a largely partisan audience. He cited his support for forest workers, fair enough, but failed to acknowledge environmental, water catchment, species extinction or Carbon sequestration components of the equation.
“The $750,000 taxpayer subsidies to the loss-making hardwood division of Forests NSW were similarly ‘let through to the keeper’, though I stated, on behalf of the Greens, we would be happy to see those subsidies paid to workers for re-training, re-skilling, re-tooling and relocating into guaranteed employment in the plantation sector, which is profitable.
“When pressed on the Murrah Flora Reserve which was recently established by lease to National Parks for the protection of endangered faunal species, including the last known population of koalas on the Far South Coast, I stated that the Greens supported proper funding for management of the Reserve and its addition to Biamanga National Park,” Mr Douglas said.
“Mr Constance twice passed up the opportunity to rule out allowing it to be logged after the 10-year lease with National Parks expired.
“Finally, and of particular interest to Eurobodalla readers concerned about the Rural Lands Strategy, some new information delivered from the horse’s mouth. Under questioning, again from yours truly Mr Constance stated that the Local Environment Plan sent for signing off by Planning Minister Roberts many months ago, with serious and as yet unresolved environmental issues raised by six government agencies, would now not be signed off before the State Government descended into caretaker mode on March 1,” Mr Douglas said.