Sunday, 24 June 2012

When NSW Government funding decisions cost lives

This article by Jessica Grewall in The Daily Examiner on 18 June 2012 deserves a gold star:

IT WAS 7am, the platform was wet and slippery and when the doors to my first western suburbs Sydney train opened, the only free seat was covered in spilled coffee.
The two women standing nearby warned me we were in for track work delays so I opened the morning paper, took a deep breath and thought "life in the big city could take some getting used to".
It was 4pm that day, in a different part of the state, when a car travelling along a wet and slippery stretch of the Pacific Hwy north of Coffs Harbour, spun out of control and changed the lives of the family inside forever.
As I cursed the hour-long train trip home, a 10-month-old baby boy was pulled from the highway wreck and flown to hospital in a critical condition.
While I was enjoying a night out with friends the next night, that little boy died.
It would be ridiculous to compare the frustration I had felt getting to work late on that cold autumn morning with unimaginable grief those parents live with every day.
And yet, the politicians in this country who have the power to dramatically reduce the possibility of other parents facing the same horror, have decided taxpayers' money is better spent making my trip to work that little bit more comfortable.
The Coalition's cry that they did not have the funds to match the Federal Government's offer to fund half of the Pacific Highway duplication is disgraceful.
What about the $5.5billion set aside in this week's NSW Budget for Sydney's transport network?
The people using public transport in Sydney are not dying from sitting in overcrowded or slow trains.
Waiting another four years won't kill them.
It could kill Sydney votes though and the majority of people living along the most deadly road stretch in Northern NSW live in cosy National seats.
In the lead-up to last week's budget, "honour" was a word which was thrown around freely by State and Federal MP's.
Both governments called on each other to "honour" election promises and funding split agreements.
There is nothing honourable about playing with people's lives.
The only way to honour the families of those whose deaths could have been avoided is for the people who have failed them to fix the damned road.

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