I read with interest in a recent article in The Times about the presence of Andrew Constance at the RMS public meeting concerning the Milton-Ulladulla bypass.
He appeared to be providing support to those who want the bypass to be situated west of its current position.
The bypass issue has been exhaustively investigated and discussed for many years now. The questions I'm interested in are why was Mr Constance at the meeting, and could he have anything valuable to contribute to the discussion?
To answer these questions, it's informative to examine Mr Constance's record as a previous transport minister.
The most consistent theme in Mr Constance's tenure as transport minister in my opinion was one of blame shifting and not taking personal responsibility.
Why do I say this? Just a couple of incidents for now. Readers may well recall that the Sydney light rail project cost blew out by one billion dollars while he was minister.
Consistently he stated that this was the fault of the Spanish contracting firm, and even said that "they should just get on with it..."
The real reason for the blowout was that the company had not been properly briefed on the scope of works involved. This was confirmed later when the contractor took the state government to court and won, being awarded costs and significant compensation.
All these costs were paid for by us, the taxpayers. Mr Constance then had little to say.
More recently down here, it was Mr Constance who directed that trees should be cut down next to the Princes Highway to protect the power lines in case of fire.
The contractors then essentially clear cut right through Termeil in a what was considered by residents as a case of environmental vandalism.
When contacted by angry local residents, he claimed that he had not ordered the trees to be cut down.
But when pressed, said "well, the highway is going to be widened anyway." More blame shifting.
Again, in Sydney recently it was reported that stage two of the promised Parramatta light rail project had not been budgeted for. Mr Constance provided more flimsy excuses when questioned.
Although I have no direct evidence of his knowledge and do not wish to cast any aspersions, it is nevertheless an amazing coincidence that just weeks after Mr Constance decided to resign as transport minister, significant cracks were discovered in Sydney light rail carriages and on December 8 the new Sydney Harbour ferries were also found to be defective.
In my opinion, Mr Constance is a failed transport minister. Any contribution he may wish to make with respect to the new bypass should therefore be treated with caution.
Perhaps he was only present to try and develop some local support should he be preselected by the Liberal party for Gilmore in the next federal election. Readers can form their own view about his motivations.
When I was growing up in Burrill Lake my uncle used to call anyone who hadn't lived in Burrill for 30 years or more "blow ins".
I used to think that a bit rude and questioned him why the term "blow ins".
His answer was we are a community that pulls together, always have each other's backs. Blow ins bring their city mentality with them and only care about themselves.
Now I understand why the term is applicable.
It's very sad to see my community so divided, fuelled by the blow in mentality.
Burrill Lake was nearly wiped off the map by bushfires in the late 1940s and there was widening of the road along the top of the ridge which is still evident today.
This was going to provide a fire corridor as most of our fires come from the west, and a bypass for Milton, Ulladulla, Burrill, Dolphin Point, Tabourie.
So those that say we've been waiting 20 years for the bypass or state they don't care about people south of Milton are obviously "blow ins".
Can you please either lose the attitude or blow out of town.
There are plenty of people who have lived in the Burrill Lake area all their lives because of the lifestyle and it's God's own country. They are by no means less entitled than anyone else.
Please don't forget we are a community.
Interesting article online in the MUT: 'Tourism thriving on the South Coast despite COVID' which was great to read.
But I feel something is being missed.
Unless I'm completely wrong here and I'm happy to be corrected, don't we have so many COVID cases on the South Coast 'because' of the tourists?
I understand that we've reached a point with our high rate of vaccinations that we have to start opening up, however, I believe our State Government has ignored the health advice to keep movement dampened down to restrict the spread.
Premier Perrottet and Health Minister Hazzard, in my opinion, have both put money before lives.
Can one perspective therefore be that every death in NSW from the spread of the virus because of tourism be on the heads of the Premier and Health Minister?
Another point of view is that the 1918 flu was so widespread and killed so many people because of the movement of troops during the First World War and the fact that people still had to work to put food on the table, they had no choice.
The spread of COVID-19 around the globe and in Australia has primarily been caused by international travel for leisure and the perceived given right that we need to holiday, regardless.
We saw this phenomenon during the bushfires, tourists desperate to holiday despite bushfire warnings.
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