With much of the Bega Valley Shire becoming increasingly reliant on revenue from tourism, Monday’s announced expansion of Merimbula airport and Eden port was a welcome surprise.
The upgrade to the airport will allow heavier aircraft to use the facility, which will cater for a much-needed increased capacity for passengers and cargo.
It also coincides with plans by Singapore Airlines flights to Canberra providing opportunity to then travel to Merimbula, which will likely bring thousands of tourists from Southeast Asia to our part of the coast. It gives visitors an opportunity to see Australia outside of our major cities.
The upgrades will also increase the area’s capacity to export fresh seafood to Asia, which has showed an insatiable demand for Australian produce.
Another outcome will likely be increased competition from other airlines looking to service the area, meaning lower airfares, which was shown recently with the arrival of Free Spirit Airlines flying the Melbourne – Merimbula route at a discount rate.
The potential to co-ordinate flights with cruise liners arriving in Eden is also a possibility.
All of this is real money in the pockets of locals with jobs to come with it. It also gives us the opportunity to increase the Bega Valley’s appeal as a year-round holiday destination, which is an exciting prospect for a local young business owner like myself.
And so it was disappointing to read Fraser Buchanan’s cynical piece in last week’s MNW (Misguided Pork Barrelling), which just reinforced a reactive rather than proactive approach to building vital infrastructure to grow the local economy.
It’s important to note that the vast bulk of funding for these projects comes from the state and federal governments - not local council – who used money quarantined for regional tourism. If the money was not used on our infrastructure it would simply be used somewhere else in NSW. It would not be used to upgrade our sewerage facilities.
Lastly, credit must go to council for facilitating the hard fought deal, and which will benefit our shire for years to come.
Mitchell Nadin, Merimbula
Well, already they're shamelessly at it again. The piggy bank has been smashed and the Liberals are already frantically pork-barrelling and heavy-hitting Eden-Monaro electorate in a desperate attempt to save the rarely seen or heard Mr Hendy's political skin.
What appalling cynicism, and contempt for the voters. Especially when we are aware that most of it is "old" previously allocated money, and much is contingent on favourable input from others! And that major projects have actually emanated from the initial groundwork and funding from Mike Kelly, our previous MP.
I know that probably many will say "they all do it", and that we should just shrug and go along with it. That we should just venally accept the sudden largesse on offer. But, if we do, then we are as cynical and morally bankrupt as they are.
If we believe that this overall lack of honesty and integrity is wrong, and that we should not allow ourselves to be mindlessly seduced, then we know that there is no chance of change unless we stand up and say so at the ballot box!
And, let's face it, our electorate has got practically nothing during the time Hendy has been our MP. So can we be sure that all this money is not just a political election ploy, and that afterward it will disappear? Can we trust them?
Perhaps Mr Hendy was so busy being a key plotter in Turnbull's rise to become Prime Minister, that looking after our electorate ran a distant second to his personal ambition but the "pollies" should tread warily. As it has been proven many times the voters of Eden Monaro respond badly to being hoodwinked and taken for granted.
Brian Cairns, Bega
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