By Noosa Mp Sandy Bolton
With so much fodder coming via my inbox, Facebook and in Parliament, I am always spoilt for choice on column topics! Especially fertile are ‘Letters to the Editor’ and one recently highlighted the importance of clarifying misconceptions as a knowledgeable community is powerful indeed!
In the March 26 edition, a writer believed that the inappropriate volume of heavy haulage through our hinterland villages on a road not designed for, would be ‘fixed’ if we had an MP aligned to a political party, and that even an opposition MP is more effective than an Independent MP? Let’s think about this. Firstly, our previous MPs were aligned to parties as either government or opposition at some point over the period when our community fought this, including through a court case. That they did not ‘fix’ this when they had opportunity demonstrates a serious flaw in this belief. Secondly, that I inherited this and other major issues of some twenty years including Six Mile Bridge #7, and Beckmans Rd further puts even more holes in the argument that only party aligned MPs are effective. To some facts. Happily, most of the historical issues I inherited have been addressed or are in progress, including funding for the ‘big ticket’ items and the lesser though equally important, such as improved river management and testing. As an Independent I have access, as all Members do, to Ministers and have the same per member allocation to questions put during Parliament. That an issue cannot be resolved as we would like is not a reflection on my alliance, which is to the people of the Noosa electorate, nor the Ministers that are held accountable for failings. Some of our ‘gremlins’, such as the current haulage issue, is from an aged framework, with a lack of mechanisms embedded in which to review when needed, including environmental authorities issued decades ago. When it comes to the safety of any community, who is representing should be irrelevant especially around inadequate infrastructure and dangerous conditions. And if it is not, then the system is even more broken than what I have outlined in several realms during Parliament, and why I will continue working for an independent review of these systems as part of modernizing government and MP performance to meet community expectations.
As I said in a recent speech, there is nothing to fear with independent scrutiny. No one in any community, or those that represent them, should oppose efforts for greater operational efficiencies, equities, and deliverables. We have much to do, and we cannot sit on excuses such as ‘that’s the policy’, ‘that is how it is done’ or that favourite go to of ‘that’s politics’. We can, and always, must do better.
Until next time, keep asking the questions and challenging systems that no longer serve us well. It is all about how we can, versus why we cannot.