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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Hereditary heartland of Page

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Tom Tabart, Drysdale

The historically appellated Benjamin Franklin MLC was dispatched to our environs on a quest to reconquer the hereditary heartland of the Page Dynasty for its rightful owners, The Nationals.

Cruel demographic, economic and environmental factors had eroded the hold of the agrarian socialists until they not only lost the seat, but worse, the Greens seized the throne.

Young Ben diligently moved to seize or arrange any photo opportunity on offer, only becoming invisible when his Sydney controllers committed one of their regular assaults on locals’ values.

Now with the reckoning day in sight Ben’s been armed with his ultimate weapon, a humongous barrel of pork.

No charity, cause, vested interest, vague idea or council cockup is safe from Ben bearing a wad of cash to splash over their voting supporters. No need to apply – it’s a random exercise.

So what do we get for this? Ben as the Nationals member for Ballina toeing the party line.

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  1. A nice little story but Ballina electorate was the hereditary heartland of the Anthony family; it is only in recent history it was conquered by the Grafton Pages!

    And it is churlish indeed to criticise a politician who has shown his capacity to represent our electorate’s interests and ensure a fair share of the state’s resources needed to support the work of the community groups, and the two council to creating and maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment of our shires. As such it is unfair to refer to Ben’s efforts as “random”. The state government support or example for large investments in community paths between Ballina and Lennox Heads and between Byron Bay and Suffolk Park is consistent with the priorities councils identified with the our communities in developing their PAMP and Cycling Plans.

    Tamara Smith has made some good speeches, and like Ben advocated for our area and rural NSW and reached out beyond her core supporters. She demonstrated her support for the new commuter bus services between the Bay, Ballina and Lismore, and in her speech on the first NSW rail trail bill she publicly stated her support for public transport and rail trails asking rhetorically how could she as a Green not be supporting sustainable cycle tourism. But now Tamara is forced to support her party’s policy – and that of a small group of noisy protestors – to put dirty diesel trains on rural rail corridors, which would be at the expense of our environment, of better bus services, and of cycle recreation, transport and tourism. Contrast that with the Government’s willingness to compromise after Ben’s lobbying on short term letting polices that would not work in our area.

    We need activist members representing our region that do not just make the effort to understand what community groups and councils are doing to improve our lifestyle and environment but are also able to influence government polices in their party and in the Government.

  2. What a load of inaccurate nonsense from someone who’s supposed to be a ‘local’. The Anthonys never held the seat of Ballina.

    We all know that the bus service takes over an hour and a half from Byron to Lismore only carries at most 15 passengers and is costing taxpayers many millions. Would be cheaper to pay for taxis. Even the large, slow XPT did the trip from Lismore to Byron in less than an hour, even though it was only able to travel at walking pace in some places due to the state of the old timber bridges. Small commuter trains would do the trip much quicker on a refurbished rail line.

    We’ll soon see if the local green MPs practice of ignoring over ten thousand signatures on petitions in the last four years (far from a small group) calling for trains on our tracks, but towing the line of big business, who are dictating policy on a useless, expensive bike track, will help retain the seat of Ballina.

    The deceit and backflips of the Nationals on this crucial public transport issue has left the community breathless.


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