Let’s hope election promises aren’t just talk
It's not hard to tell when elections are approaching, that being when politicians from both major parties start promising the world, and even change their mind on issues that previously they wouldn't even want to talk about.
Here we have the newly, almost self elected Prime Minister, Scott Morrison promising five billion dollars in aid for drought relief over ten years, though he has failed to reveal the finer details yet.
Mr Morrison has softened his stance on the children detained in Nauru and Manus centres and a few other issues.
On the other side of politics, we have Joel Fitzgibbon, Federal Member for Hunter and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, in his address to the national drought summit, saying that we should move away from coal or any kind of solid fuel, because climate change is real.
I hope it won’t turn out to be just a political stunt, because I recall in April 2015, in one of his editorials in TheMaitland Mercury, he pointed to the coal mining industry downturn as a contributing factor to high unemployment figures in the region, and in his opinion mining was still important to our economy.
In saying that, I'm not against anyone changing his/hers opinion – especially if it is in favour of slowing down climate change!
What is of concern, is that neither the State or Federal Governments have mentioned any measures to better mitigate any future droughts by constructing more dams in order to irrigate some of the drought affected land.
Of course, we know that politicians promises are like miracles happening (in that they are few and far between) but, with a bit of luck, a small percentage might drop out of the bag?
Where is the affordable housing in Maitland?
Progress on the plan for affordable housing in Central Maitland appears to have practically come to a standstill.
Maitland Council was successful seven years ago in gaining a Federal Government grant of $11.3 million to provide infrastructure like roads and drainage along Athel D’Ombrain Road and Ward Street that exits on to High Street.
I believe it was also necessary to purchase several cottages to enable more affordable housing in Central Maitland to become available.
I realise that timing sometimes comes down to other organisations like Hunter Water for water and sewerage and electricity providers etc, but really … seven years is a long delay.
There is some good news with housing in Central Maitland.
I see in recent notices in The Maitland Mercury that four two-storey homes will be built in Devonshire Street.
In a recent conversation with a private contractor I was told that five two-storey homes will be built in Ward Street - with more development in the vicinity of Maitland Railway Station.
However, we are a long way off council’s prediction that there would be a further 5000 residents living in Central Maitland.
Maybe it is time for the State Government Department of Housing to move in and provide public housing in this area that has ample public transport available.
It is very difficult for first home buyers to break into the housing market due to escalating prices of new homes.
Perhaps if our local state member and council see merit in this suggestion they may make a joint approach to the NSW Government.
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