Let’s hope that Brad “Lazarus” Hazzard, our new Health Minister, will be more careful about the choice of location for any new hospitals he may build in future than he was in October 2013 when, as Planning Minister, he signed the Order designating Frenchs Forest to be the site for the Northern Beaches Hospital, after ‘robust qualitative analysis’ had ranked that location a poor third amongst the six sites considered. The same study had budgeted $21.3 million for roading works which are now costing $500 million. The fact that the study was about 8 years old didn’t cause Mr Hazzard to pause to review and update the information. Nor, clearly, did he remember telling a public meeting in early 2011 that he would be debarred from involvement in the hospital process by a perceived conflict of interest, he being the local Member and a local resident.
Gladys was obviously unaware of this background when she chose Brad for Health.
I hope Sean Nicholls has Part 2 of this excellent piece in preparation, (NSW has its own problem with politician entitlements, 13 Jan), outlining the policies which have lost Mike Baird support. Like the back-flip on greyhound racing, seemingly at the behest of Alan Jones. Like his obsession with privatising anything that isn't nailed down. His rough-shod bullying of local government. The lack of adequate assessment of major infrastructure projects to ensure value for money. And, above all, the mad, uncontrolled, tasteless, destructive, developer-driven "growth at all costs" stampede to cram more and more people into already over-crowded Sydney.
Mr Baird should prioritise the enhancement of the quality of life for people, and the preservation of the natural world we live in, rather than his materialistic, philistine focus on GDP. Make NSW a better place, not a bigger place.
Ireland is today mourning the passing, at the age of 100, of Dr T K (Ken) Whitaker, being described in tributes as 'the architect of modern Ireland' and 'as fine an Irishman as there has been'. In 2001 he was honoured as 'Irishman of the 20th century'.
Dr Whitaker was a public servant, who rose from the position of clerk to become Secretary of the Department of Finance at the age of 39, in which rôle he transformed the Irish economy, as politicians came and went. In later life he became a Senator, and headed numerous cultural and academic bodies.
As 'a Finance man' Dr Whitaker saw his rôle as 'a trustee for the taxpayer'. Would that those in public life in Australia might think and act likewise.
There are two well-worn buttons on my TV remote, Mute and Off. They enable me to cope with all sports commentary except NRL, where I want to listen to Gould and Sterling but not Warren.
There aren't too many ways available for venting one's anger or frustration at some of the things happening in the world around us. One such escape valve is the good old Letter to the Editor, even if only a small proportion of them gets published. It is often well-nigh impossible to keep the discussion short enough for the newspapers. So rather that have them expire in some Editor's Trash bin, we'll preserve them for posterity here. Inevitably, though, some nuances will be lost for those unfamiliar with the background or the letter or article to which we are responding. But each is undoubtedly a miniature literary masterpiece, though you may find the themes become somewhat repetitive.