Elizabeth Farrelly allowed Brad Hazzard to pull the wool over her eyes.
She didn’t seem to ask him, for example:
a) why absolutely nothing is done about reversing, or even slowing, population growth, which is the single common factor underlying ALL planning issues;
b) why his “reform” legislation retains the power for the Minister, at his personal whim, to approve a development proposal which has failed to satisfy all the criteria and systems that he himself has established. Hardly conducive to building confidence in the integrity of a historically corruption-rife system!
c) why he is obsessively determined to proceed to put a huge new hospital slap bang on one of the worst traffic intersections in Sydney (already at capacity, according to traffic engineers), on a site which was chosen decades ago, when the world was a different place. It is also well away from the centre of the population catchment it is supposed to serve.
d) why he is ignoring what he told public meetings, namely that he would be unable to adjudicate or get involved in the hospital approval process, because he lives in the area and obviously has a personal political interest;
There is a systemic problem with modern government. Good government used to be based on a structure of checks and balances. There was actually a serious side to Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey. But now it’s OK to fire senior state servants who don’t toe the political party line (one of Mr Abbott’s first acts in government, don’t forget). And in any case much of the work is farmed out to consultants, who obviously have to come up with the required answer if they want any continuing business, and who in the case of the Northern Beaches hospital proposal takes what he is told by medical officials and quotes it back as fact, without any verification whatever, as well as conveniently ignoring geography.
So now, when a government wants to do something, one department (in this case, Health) asks another department (Planning) if it’s OK. Who’s going to say “no, that’s a crazy site, find a better location”? No-one. It’s a closed shop. Nothing can stop them. Is that democracy?
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.