Has Goulburn ever been so popular with our State politicians?
Mind you, we're not complaining, with some serious money being literally splashed around, the latest being $10 million from the Coalition for the Goulburn aquatic centre upgrade.
It couldn't have come at a better time. The council has previously acknowledged it didn't have enough money for the $28m stage one work and was depending on $20 million in state and federal grants to supplement its allocation.
But just where is the State's latest contribution coming from? It's hard to get a straight answer.
Helpfully, or not, Premier Gladys Berejiklian told us: "This is NSW Government money, so the important thing is we have lots of money for our capital projects to support our councils, and so it's coming direct from taxpayers."
A Liberal Party spokesperson was just as clear when asked the same question: “The Labor Party has a history of cutting and cancelling projects. Only a re-elected NSW Liberals and Nationals Government can be trusted to deliver the $10 million to upgrade Goulburn Aquatic Centre.”
Why does any of this matter? It matters because last year the council applied for $10m from the State's Sports Infrastructure Fund for the redevelopment and was rejected. Last November, general manager Warwick Bennett told us this was for a variety of reasons but principally because the council had not secured development consent for the project.
"The second reason provided was that the State Government departments believe our application may be a little too ambitious at this time until we have secured other sources of funding and the final scope of the project," he said.
“We have been encouraged to re-apply for this fund, as the State Government believes our project has real merit once we have ticked all the boxes."
So what has changed? The pool is still awaiting approval by the Joint Regional Planning Panel and an answer on its $10m federal grant application.
Clearly, impending elections give a greater sense of urgency. We're thrilled with the funding but why does good process apply at one time and not another?
Likewise, why does a local drug action committee have to wait until weeks before the election to have a funding request for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit delivered?
This request has been sitting on Minister Brad Hazzard's desk since October, 2017. The facility was described then as urgent, with data to back it up.
Goulburn is one of the State's most vulnerable seats so expect more sweeteners like the ones in recent weeks. But consistency is everything. Voters will ask themselves whether this is just pork barreling or whether they can always count on the Coalition to fund vital infrastructure.
That question goes just as much for Labor. Notably, it hasn't matched or bettered the aquatic centre funding. There's also no guarantee it can deliver on a drug and alcohol rehab centre.
While you're with us…
Did you know The Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up here.