Letter to the editor | August 18

‘Blatant’ pork barrelling leaves Goulburn in cold

I could scarcely believe what I was reading today in my Goulburn Post telling how Dubbo was to become the servicing centre for new generation XPT, Explorer and Endeavour trains.

You could hardly find a more out of the way location on the entire NSW rail network than Dubbo and it is a blatant demonstration of pork barrelling.

Cast your minds back to just days prior to the 2015 state election when the then Deputy Premier and Nationals leader Troy Grant flanked by then NSW Premier Mike Baird, speaking in Dubbo, promised any new trains’ maintenance facilities had to be located “outside Sydney to support rural jobs.”

Wonderful idea indeed - on paper.

Despite both the politicians now being out of their former jobs and still on the nose over their rural greyhound stands, it seems, despite studies done in places like Goulburn, Bathurst and Braemar (I was unaware Dubbo was in the mix), the latter, surprise, surprise got it.

Goulburn's case was very strong and several high level visits were made involving government officials, potential manufacturers and a maintenance firm. Our strength lay in the fact that Goulburn sits on a line where in the short space of weeks every item of rollingstock be it XPT, Explorer and non Hunter-allocated Endeavour trains call or pass here.

Thus inefficient empty running would be minimised.

Dubbo enjoys a limited XPT service, has no Endeavour or Explorer services and only sees the latter touch base there occasionally should an XPT set be unavailable for the Dubbo service.

The claim that there are not enough train paths on the southern line to deliver rollingstock to and from Goulburn ignores timetabling and is a cop out to strengthen the Nationals’ and current Police Minister’s own Seat of Dubbo.

After all, isn't Dubbo on the main western line? And to get access to the west these empty trains heading to Dubbo for servicing will need to forge their way through the already choked metropolitan network to Penrith and then do battle on the already busy Blue Mountains where everything including coal trains simply creep along due its consistent one in 33 gradients on 12 chain radius curves.

And because the State decided to eliminate one of the double line tracks between Wallerawang and Tarana and other places more than a decade ago, big delays to some trains already occur along that winding section.

Why our own MP Pru Goward and anyone from Goulburn Mulwaree Council (if they were dealt into meaningful talks) could not see through all of this and confer with independent people who understand timetabling and rail operations, and actually absorb that information, is beyond me.

No, this excessively expensive decision is all about politics and if people believe otherwise, then they are not up to speed with reality.

Leon Oberg, Goulburn

Pollies abdicate role on marriage equality 

What is going on in Australia that we have a government that refuses to govern, to make a decision to legislate gay marriage? 

That in this refusal to govern, asks of the public to be judge and jury on this topic, to say "yes" or "no" with funds it seems it does not have the authority to use for this purpose, ‘a $122 million dog's breakfast postal ballot,' as Bill Shorten Opposition leader exclaims. 

I believe 'reflection' is possibly what we all need to indulge in to discover for ourselves where we stand with what is going on. 

With a High Court challenge lodged against the government's $122 million postal plebiscite in a bid to stop the postal vote going ahead, it is perceived that it does not fall within the power of the government to do so unless the parliament authorises it. 

Forms are due to be posted to voters by September 12, to be completed by November 7, with a result to be announced on November 15. It’s a non-binding result that Government is not obliged to do anything with. 

My reflection is that we don't need to change our constitution, we need to change the Marriage Act and it is the parliament's job to that. Why are they asking us what to do?

I am appalled that our hard earned taxpayers dollars are being considered to fund this nonsensical drama whilst citizens in our local community can't even put their heaters on in winter to stay warm, mental health workers struggle to keep up with local demands for support due to staff shortages and in our community people struggle to make ends meet. 

When I first arrived in Laggan with my same sex partner, the community response to us was not one of judgement for our sexual preference, they merely enquired whether I was the sculptor and my partner the writer? I found it so refreshing at the time to be defined by passion rather than my sexual preference. I felt proud to be part of a community that had its values based not on morality but creativity.

My New Zealand partner and myself, originally from South Africa, have found our local community to be non biased, welcoming, tolerant, compassionate, loving and embracing our partnership. Is love not the glue and compassion, not the paste that holds the glue together?  

My reflection is that we don't need to change our constitution, we need to change the Marriage Act and it is the parliament's job to do that. We are not meant to be judge and jury on the issue of same sex marriage due to parliament's refusal to legislate. What is going on?

Anna Pye, Laggan

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