Les Smiles, of Gunnedah, writes:
We are in an election campaign, as if you did not know, and we are once again in the midst of a great deal of promise.
We’re promised this and we’re promised that and some of the other as well.
However, all promises are dependent upon being elected or re-elected.
Let’s examine the history of those who were elected last time and what it’s meant to Gunnedah.
Gunnedah Timbers closed with substantial loss of jobs because the Pilliga was kept locked up in order to placate the Greens, and the Shooters and Fishers and secure their votes in the Upper House for legislation critical to the government.
The lack of action by the incumbent government in this matter cost the jobs and income of 22 families.
Gunnedah received no grants from the Royalties for Regions Fund despite having as much coal activity as neighbouring areas. Why?
The Pilliga was locked up, ostensibly to protect the fauna and flora of the forest. The area that was burned in the past few days would have supported the Gunnedah sawmill for quite some time and in the process, assisted in bushfire protection.
There is no doubt that a number of animals and a large amount of flora that may otherwise have been protected have been lost. So much for the environmentalists. No sign of them on the fire ground.
Let us now look at the new multi-million dollar overhead bridge which will direct most traffic from Narrabri and Coonabarabran along Bloomfield Street. My previous letter pointed out how the community and the council of the day rejected the plan.
One candidate is holding the new bridge up as a great achievement. You won’t get many votes for that.
Those of us who live in Bloomfield Street and others whose children attend the childcare centre or one of the three schools in the street will hold their breath and hope that no child or adult is injured by the traffic which will be generated.
As to the election, there are a number of candidates, but only two can be considered as realistic chances.
The Nationals, as far as most country people are concerned, are a sub-set of the Liberal Party, and rarely deviate from their policy.
The front-running independent has discovered that there are votes to be had in opposing coal and coal seam gas. Care should be taken, since just as many could be lost.
There are a great number of people who will lose homes and businesses should the mines close, and the economic viability of the towns in the area would certainly be threatened.
The principal complaint about the mines seems to revolve around perceived damage to the aquifers. They are already damaged, but not by mining.
People who have lived in Carroll for many years recall when wells dug to 7m provided ample good quality water.
But not now. Irrigation has increased the depth required to reach water in Carroll to 30m. No mining caused that.
Who can remember when the Mooki had a flush that actually got past the massive pumps and above-ground dams on the plains to reach the Namoi? Not too many.
The Watermark mine continues to receive much criticism amid claims it will mine on the blacksoil plain. They have, in fact, unambiguously stated that they will not.
Shenhua Watermark has purchased the country it will mine at top prices. It has established a community fund worth $5 million, including $1 million to the Rural Health Centre, and spends approximately $250,000 annually in local shops. On goods and services in the local region, the total expenditure tops $20 million.
I have watched the protesters at the various places around the area and have to wonder how many of them are from here.
Are some of them being paid by Greenpeace as is claimed? If that is in fact true, how seriously can their actions be viewed?
We hear much about the food bowl. I am sure there is food grown, but a great deal of cotton also, and not matter how much chutney is used, underpants, shirts and singlets are still indigestible.
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