By Michael Giles
THE contrast between the election campaigns in Gippsland South, an electorate stretching from Leongatha to Sale, and Bass, taking in Inverloch, Wonthaggi, Phillip Island and Pakenham; could not be starker.
While Bass has had a visit from the Premier almost weekly and a government minister several times each week to lavish praise, promises and projects on the voting public there… Gippsland South has been a desert.
It’s not the fault of the National Party’s Danny O’Brien that he holds an absolute majority in the seat, so much so that he has only two challengers.
But it certainly irks the voters in the seat that they’ve virtually been promised nothing by the party that’s odds-on with the bookies to win government again on Saturday, November 24.
The failure of the government to stump up the funding for Stage II of the Korumburra Secondary College is a case in point. It’s small beer, surely against the $115 million budget allocation for the Wonthaggi Hospital.
You can’t blame the good people of Bass for enjoying their moment in the sun, either, while Labor’s candidate, Jordan Crugnale stands a very good chance of taking the seat from the Liberals’ Brian Paynter, especially since independent Clare Le Serve decided to urge her possible 10 per cent of the voting public to preference Ms
And certainly, the burgeoning seat of Bass does need a boost to infrastructure, so we’re not knocking the announcements that have been made, including the promise of a new junior campus of the Wonthaggi Secondary College at San Remo.
But there are equally pressing needs elsewhere, like a new hospital at Warragul, that should be delivered regardless of whether it’s in a safe Liberal seat or not.
Both sides do it, we know that, but it’s another example of how the adversarial nature of our two-party system has gone too far, and should be reined in, especially where the provision of health services, planning, energy and education are concerned.