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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Pork barrelling

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Since the Nationals lost Ballina in a huge anti-coal-seam-gas protest vote, they were never going to accept the loss. It was no coincidence when an astute politician like Mr Franklin suddenly appeared on our doorstep and immediately embarked on a relentless campaign of pork-barrelling.

The recipients of all this largesse are cash-strapped essential local community organisations, and there has certainly been no criticism of that. An experienced politician like Mr Franklin, well versed in political tactics, would be very schooled in the art of pork barrelling, hence the sensitivity when challenged on the issue.

But do we really need the Nationals back, with their appalling record on environmental issues? Mr Franklin has been cunningly using his privileged govt position and access to govt coffers bloated with money from public asset sales (in excess of 60 billion dollars), giving him a massive advantage over both MP Tamara Smith and Labor candidate Asren Pugh.

If Mr Franklin’s govt is terminated next year, he will lose access to the money pot, and if Labor candidate Asren Pugh is elected in Ballina, he will then get access to that same money pot. So, Mr Franklin, thanks for returning OUR money, but no thanks, we’ll be fine if we don’t elect you.

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  1. There is a brave assumption in your argument: that the LNP will be defeated. Premier Berejeklian is more popular than her Federal colleagues and has a good majority. There is every chance her government will be re-elected, albeit with a reduced majority, in which case your argument cuts the opposite way. Tamara Smith might be well placed to too, if she is re-elected with other Greens and they have a balance of power.

    My particular interest is in improving active transport. Is it part of the LNP’s appalling record that they approved 3,300 new buses in NSW in 2017 and followed up with thousands more later. I have not read one statement by Asren Pugh that shows he has any interest in public transport, or cycling and walking provision (to be fair to Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffrin successfully put a proposal for a transport plan to the Labor conference and who has committed to implementing such a plan and funding the rail trail).

    Ben Franklin by contrast with Pugh has been active in getting funding not just for community organisations, with two long cycle paths funded in Ballina and in Byron Bay. and stage one of the rail trial in the Tweed. He is also very active in attending community functions and gauging their concerns and that is in sharp contrast my Federal member for Richmond, who is never seen in the the vicinity of the southern part of her electorate. It is all very well to refer to Mr Franklin’s efforts as pork barrelling and dismiss governemnt spending as “returning our money” but what is clear he is he is active and capable of securing funding for the region , including for environmentally beneficial infrastructure, and if he was not so active in securing benefits I have no doubt you would criticise him for that.



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