Monday, 5 January 2015

Has The Daily Examiner editor drunk the National Party kool aid?

Opinion in The Daily Examiner on Page 7 of the 1 January 2015 issue:

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2015.

It promises to be an exciting time for the Clarence Valley, with the pending start to work on the Pacific Hwy upgrade, including a second crossing of the Clarence at Harwood, as well as the start to the second bridge at Grafton.
The announced injection of Federal and State funding for these projects is unprecedented and seems certain to have a highly positive impact on the Valley economy.
Local residents could do a lot worse than to make their new year's resolution coming up with a way to be part of the economic boost heading our way.
You don't need to know how to build a bridge or drive a dump truck to take advantage of the big projects.
Many businesses and service suppliers are poised to benefit from the boost to employment and the economy.
Schools could see an enrolment lift and landlords could be in for a golden period.
Just like a resolution to lose weight, however, those who benefit most from the construction boom will be those who work hardest and are best prepared.

The Daily Examiner reported on 11 December 2014 something which a look at NSW Roads & Maritime Service’s website confirms in January 2015, the second Grafton Bridge has not yet received approval:

CONSTRUCTION of a second bridge for Grafton is in limbo with no announcement yet on when works will begin.
A spokeswoman from Roads and Maritime Services said there would be "no comment" on the proposed bridge while the project was under review by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
Meanwhile a spokesman from the Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Industry has raised concerns that an election promise, made in 2011 by the (then) Deputy Opposition Leader and Leader of the Nationals Andrew Stoner as well as current Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, will not be met.
Des Harvey, board member of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce, said the community deserved clear answers.
"Given it is already December 2014, and the construction industry typically winds down for Christmas and the January holiday period, the Grafton Chamber is very concerned the deadline of 28 March 2015 for commencement of construction will not be met as promised," Mr Harvey said.
"People stop and ask me in the street - what's happening? - at the end of the day we want to see actual construction; we want to see tractors digging holes."
Mr Harvey acknowledged the project had progressed significantly, but he also noted that $177 million had been allocated for construction in the current term.
"I know plenty of work has already been done but the election is getting closer and the problem hasn't gone away," he said….

The second crossing of the Clarence River at Harwood is still at submissions from the community stage at this time, with tenders for preliminary first stage of soft soil treatment still being assessed.

Tenders are still being assessed for preliminary soft soil work on the Pacific Highway upgrade between Woolgoolga and Ballina generally.

This year is unlikely to see the hoped for golden period for the Clarence Valley - more likely there will be a slow trickle of employment opportunities in the second half of 2015.

Of course, if as is likely, the Baird Coalition Government is returned at the 28 March 2015 state election with a comfortable majority then any perception of political urgency in Macquarie Street will have subsided.

Then the federal funding earmarked for 2013-14 and the state's $395 million earmarked for 2014-15 may be the only funding not pushed forward past 2016-17 in this year's state budget papers, where such deferred spending would sit with further promised federal funding listed in forward estimates past the end of the Abbott Government's current (and perhaps only) term in office. 

1 comment:

Ursula Tunks said...

I've definitely noticed a few quirky habits of the new Editor.

I am no longer able to have my letters to the Editor published ... they're simply ignored.

My online comments are NEVER posted by the Daily Examiner staff during the Moderating period, I've taken to saving my comments and if they are not posted by the DEx team I just wait a few hours and comment with the same comment and surprise surprise! The Coffs Coast Advocate staff moderating the online comments publish the same comment the DEx staff refuse to publish.

Of course everyone knows I'm a nutter, and anyone who is hated by the Grafton Branch of the National Party is also deemed a nutter :-P Which means I'm in great company!