Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, walked the streets of Broken Hill this week, gloating about the state of our footpaths, for which he believes he deserves credit.
“It’s fantastic to see most of these footpaths now complete, improving pedestrian safety and accessibility, particularly for those with mobility issues,” he said.
“This is exactly the type of work the Federal Government is pleased to support – to create local job opportunities, while delivering lasting benefits.”
Coulton says our streets are now tolerable to local pedestrians thanks to the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) funding, which he reckons showered Broken Hill in capital for which we should be grateful.
“The LRCI program has proven to be a huge success for our local communities, with councils able to use these funds for projects that they otherwise wouldn’t have the capacity to undertake,” he said.
“Broken Hill City Council received $310,580 under the first phase of the LRCI program to revamp the footpaths along Blende Street, and an additional $666,521 in Phase 2 for the construction of bicycle and walking paths in Patton, Rakow, Uranium, O’Neill and Brooks streets.”
What’s more, a bonus $621,160 was thrown at us in Phase 3, taking our total gift from the Federal Government to a ‘whopping’ $1,598,261. Not bad.
But a closer look at the $2.5 billion LRCI program shows that Broken Hill, far from being buried in a deluge of riches, has in fact been thrown little more than chickenfeed.
Over the three phases of the program, for example: Cessnock in the Hunter Valley, with a population comparable to that of Broken Hill, received $6,083,279; the little Shire of Cook, in Queensland, clinging on to its 4500 residents, got $4,808938; and the Shire of Bland, home to no more than 6000 souls, received $6,939,684, more than four times the amount received by Broken Hill, a city with a population
three times that of Bland.
These are not cities and towns cherrypicked for dramatic effect – to read the list of LRCI funding recipients through Broken Hill eyes is like being beaten up by a procession of kids much smaller, but many times richer, than yourself. One can’t help but wonder whether we’re not being ‘rewarded’ for giving the Nationals a paltry 9.4 percent of first preference votes back in 2019.
Of course, Broken Hill Mayor Darriea Turley AM thanked Coulton for the Federal Government support, because it’s not wise to bite the hand that may one day, actually, feed.
“We’re very pleased to partner with the Government in delivering safe, accessible infrastructure in our community,” she said.
At Barrier Truth, as in Broken Hill, we accept as true the maxim that you give back in kind.
Mr Coulton will always be welcome on the streets of Broken Hill.
And should he trip on an uneven portion of footpath and land flat on his face, we will cheerfully donate $1.60 toward his medical bills.
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