Setting the record straight
I read with concern your front page article “Jail break” in Monday’s The Daily Advertiser.
I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
• In the second paragraph, it states “Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson revealed the council’s bid for a $3.5 million state government lifeline will likely be refused." In fact, I have informed council, spoken on ABC Riverina, issued a media release and posted to social media saying the complete opposite - that the $3.5 million had been shortlisted for funding and would likely be announced in the Budget.
• Further in the story, it states “Junee Council general manager James Davis last week requested $3.5 million … in a last-ditch bid for assistance”. Junee’s mayor last week wrote to my office asking for a further $1.5 million and the letter was immediately referred to the relevant minister’s office and the council informed of this course of action.
The simple fact is this: Junee council applied for $3.5 million to upgrade sewage works to help cope with a historic expansion of the Junee Correctional Centre.
I took up the cudgel for the council, organised a meeting with the Minister responsible and the funding has now been shortlisted.
I’m confident it will be approved in due course.
Council last Tuesday, just a week out from the budget, asked for $1.5 million extra and that application will be considered by the government.
The $220 million prison expansion will create up to 300 new jobs during construction and another 130 after it’s built.
That equates to 22 years' growth for Junee.
The NSW Government is proud to have helped create such an historic economic boost and will continue to support the town so it can cater for such growth.
Nationals Member for Cootamundra
Wait a minute
Hang on, let’s take a long breath and think. Wagga City Council have been asked to inject $3 million into the PCYC, a project outside their responsibility.
Council tried a similar investment with the state-of-the-art Douglas Aerospace facility which left rate-payers out of pocket and is yet still, apparently unresolved. Next we could face another $1 million payout for our ex general manager, then we (the rate-payers) may have to purchase a train to take shoppers to Albury – the list goes on.
If councillors think a $3 million investment in the PCYC is a good idea, put your own money in.
What boom town?
According to social media and council newsletters, you may be influenced into thinking that the city of Wagga is a booming regional centre with prosperous opportunities - and moving forward.
However, conflicting police reports publicised do not align with the councils glowing reports and casts a dim light on the previous twenty years of ineffective council strategic planning resulting in:
- An increase in crime
- An increase in alcohol and drug use
- An increase in unemployment
- An increase in poverty, individuals struggling to cope
- An increase in depression and mental health issues
- An increase in traffic delays, accidents and poor road infrastructure
These are glaring contradictions indicating that the city of Wagga is not in fact a booming prosperous centre.
Wake up everyone, and vote in some outstanding community members that will in fact roll their sleeves up and address the problems that affect us all