Hay heroes on wheels
What an inspirational community we are fortunate to live in.
Saturday saw the convoy of trucks leave Cootamundra to deliver vitally needed fodder to the burnt out farmers of the Dunedoo district.
The generosity of our surrounding districts to provide this fodder and the big-heartedness of all the truck drivers and owners who are supplying their rigs and fuel at no cost to our Dunedoo compatriots is the core example of what it means to give a hand to a mate on the land.
Thanks must also go to all the volunteers who have provided food and sustenance for the drivers and also those businesses that have donated product and cash to the cause.
However, the greatest congratulations must go to the three people most involved in the organisation and putting together of this whole enterprise.
This has all been done within a week and exhibits wonderful skills in organisation, persuasion and tenacity to complete a project of this magnitude.
So Andrew Glover, Paul Manwaring and Jeff White, take a bow, you are superstars.
I am quite sure that any further donations would still be gratefully received and would be used to defray some of the fuel costs for the trucks.
John Barilaro leader of the NSW National Party had agreed some two weeks prior to hold a meeting outside his Queanbeyan office on Friday, February 10, over the forced council mergers.
People travelled vast distances in heat-wave conditions to put their views to Mr Barilaro. However, he didn’t consider it important enough to turn up. He had a more pressing engagement elsewhere.
He did eventually come to a meeting at Gundagai on Sunday (Feb 12). He met with a small delegation and, according to reports, he gave them a glimmer of hope by listening to their concerns. Apparently all he did was listen.
The Premier Gladys Berejiklian has since decreed the status quo will remain. This proves one thing. It is a complete waste of time and effort to seek help from anyone from within the National Party over forced council amalgamations.
You only have to take into account the feeble efforts made by our local member, Katrina Hodgkinson. She has tried to convince everyone ever since this debacle began that she was right behind our council’s efforts to stand alone but, the negative results that she has achieved suggest otherwise. And, to this very day, she hasn’t offered any explanation as to why she (and John Barilaro) both voted for council amalgamations in the first place and, against releasing the entire $400,000 KPMG Report to the public.
The release of only a small section of the report showed that the state government is facing a black hole of tens of millions of dollars in its costings of forced council amalgamations. The report has been described as being "awash with errors". And this explains why Hodgkinson and Barilaro voted against its release.
Both politicians had given the locals, and others, false hopes while all the time working against their interests by supporting this undemocratic process. In other words they have treated the Gundagai community, and others, with complete indifference.
In years to come, if this merger isn’t reversed it will completely rip the guts out of our little town as we now know it. Gundagai will eventually lose its unique identity and will become known as a suburb of Cootamundra.
By giving their unequivocal support to this blatant undemocratic process, the Nationals have deliberately ignored the wishes of our local community. For this they will pay dearly at the next state elections because - voters have very long memories.