By TONY FOSTER, Mayor of Brighton
ANOTHER State election is over and done, although almost a year earlier than anticipated, and multiple promises have been made in an attempt to win the community’s favour.
At times I just wish local government had access to the money that the political parties throw around at election time. With our intimate knowledge of the local community’s needs, I’d guarantee that councils would be more effective in delivering the much-needed works and support that the public wants.
But the important point is, whatever has been promised by those gaining power, it must be delivered.
I read an interesting article recently that reported that of all the election promises made by the winning parties at election time, only 75 per cent were delivered. Others, particularly major capital works, may have been delivered but were delayed, postponed or stretched over many, many years and were promised multiple times at successive elections.
So, no wonder people are sceptical about the largesse promised by politicians at election time. It’s fair to ask, if the money can be found just before people vote, to solve what the public sees as major issues like health services, housing, roads, and bridges, why isn’t this money spent over the previous years to address those problems?
Nevertheless, this is the system we have, and whether it is a State of Federal election, our challenge as a Council is to try and get the best outcome for our community.
In the past, Brighton Council has been very successful in gaining State and Federal Government support for many important projects that have materially improved our Municipality and the lives of our community.
Projects about to get underway, like the new Brighton High School and the replacement Bridgewater Bridge will make a massive difference to our Municipality, and other initiatives like the Brighton streetscape, the Highway Bypass, the Regional Sports Centre at Pontville, the Bridgewater Parkland project, the Brighton Community Club have already helped improve the lives of people in our community.
For local projects, we’ve adopted a policy of joint contributions, where Council provides some of the funding, and we seek support from the other tiers of government. This policy has helped us gain significant funding commitments.
Leading up to the May 1 State Election, the Labor Party promised support for improvements to the Cris Fitzpatrick Park in Gagebrook and the Liberals, funding to establish a South-Central Jobs Tasmania Hub at Brighton.
Both these projects have considerable merit, and while only one party can win government, Brighton Council hopes the two projects will be supported.
We’ll undoubtedly be working hard to make sure they are delivered and that the community can gain the promised benefits.
While we can all be cynical from time to time about political promises, it is difficult to complain if they deliver valuable community infrastructure and services and are not just a waste of public money handed out to win votes.
Essentially it is against this standard that we must judge. From the perspective of the Brighton Municipality, all the recent promises and projects that have been completed measure up pretty well.
I’m delighted with what we have been successful in achieving for the Brighton Municipality over many years, and you can be assured Council will continue to lobby our State and Federal politicians in the years ahead to get the very best outcomes for our community.
Our next opportunity will come within the next 12 months, with a Federal election expected to be held before the middle of next year, although it could be much sooner.
We’ll certainly be doing our best to put forward some worthwhile projects for funding support leading up to election day.