LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
THE nominations of another five candidates since the announcement of the National, Liberal and Greens candidates in the March 14 by-election is a timely reminder to all levels of government that the people are not to be treated with contempt.
It was made clear in the early publicity that this was to be a contest between the first two, with the Greens’ candidate, who was selected by the South Gippsland Greens coming last, having no chance of a second preference.
The anger of the electors is palpable, given the long-time incumbent’s retirement within weeks of his re-election, together with that of his chosen successor who also vowed to represent his constituents in the Upper House if re-elected.
His sudden opening of an office in Leongatha did not go unobserved.
Talk about two for the price of one!
The passing on of Danny O’Brien’s Upper House seat to an unelected successor, whilst he prepares to coast in to Peter Ryan’s empty seat, beggar’s belief in an age where we are not easily shocked by the behaviour of politicians.
It’s time to review this system, which in former times was enacted to cover death or incapacity to serve; not be abused.
The published claims of the benefits of their representation and achievements are also questionable. (I cannot assess Mr O’Brien’s efforts as I’ve never seen him in action).
But there is little to see in the South Gippsland Shire from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, and Mr Ryan cannot (in all honesty,) lay claim to leading the moratorium on coal seam gas and has been noticeably absent from the many demonstrations against CSG and other proposed ‘new’ mining ventures.
Desperately needed protection of the natural and agricultural environment has not been mentioned.
Given the dangers facing the planet associated with climate change and extreme weather conditions becoming the norm, why do the Nationals continue to ignore the greatest threat facing this electorate?
The Toora Primary School, which consisted of portables before and during most of Mr Ryan’s 23-year tenure, was built in short time under Labor’s much maligned BER scheme, and other projects such as Leongatha’s hospital were long overdue.
Then there’s the great work done on our roads.
During nearly nine years of residence in South Gippsland, my travels have taken me on every major highway in the state and many country roads and I have never seen worse than South Gippsland’s.
The current metal fencing project on the South Gippsland Highway has not only cost a fortune, but reduced any possibility of accident avoidance and we travel now in terror of a collision which will cause far worse injury and road closures of extreme significance.
Oversight by Mr Ryan?
We also note claims of progress at Port Anthony (also known as Barry Beach), long mooted for coal export of Lignite to be mined in the Welshpool-Gelliondale area but still waiting.
Where is the supporting evidence for this?
But I’m not complaining in an age that is desperate for renewable energy, unsupported by the conservative parties, but I would welcome the development of a port to export agricultural produce from South Gippsland.
Then there’s the ‘boon’ of VPlus, (the former Toora milk processing plant) for which Ryan also claims some credit.
I wonder if Mr Ryan has inspected it recently and met the few local employees and the larger number on 457 Visas.
He might be as surprised and disappointed as the locals, who also wonder about the living conditions of the ‘temporary’ workers and why they are not seen shopping or socialising.
This much-lauded foreign-owned business currently processes imported milk powder from New Zealand to re-export to China, as baby formula, with apparently no use of fresh milk as was promised.
It is not providing significant local employment to boost the local economy.
And it is also socially abhorrent, as Australians are noted for welcoming newcomers, not for having them hidden away.
No doubt the people of Morwell and other areas will be questioning the assertions of Mr Ryan and Mr O’Brien, and I trust that enough people know and care about what real representation is and vote accordingly.
This electorate does not belong to the National Party.