In order to remain calm Clarence Valley voters will possibly need to sit down with a restorative beverage before reading this arrant nonsense:
From: NSW Nationals [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 17 July 2012 10:17
Subject: A message from the State Chairman on the Grafton Gaol issue
Tuesday 17 July
A message from the State Chairman on the Grafton Gaol issue
I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some insight to the Grafton Gaol issue. It is evident that this issue has struck a chord with many of our members and has been a very difficult period for the Grafton Community.
Obviously any decision to remove jobs from a local community is difficult and one that is only a last resort, however I am disappointed that some within our party have questioned the ability and relevance of The Nationals to fight for the Grafton community and that is something I would like to address.
The way in which the announcement was made and the manner in which it was delivered is regrettable. It placed the local member Chris Gulaptis in a very difficult position from the outset.
Chris took a stand for his local community and was quickly supported by his parliamentary colleagues, both state and federal who were in constant contact with messages of support and advice.
Head Office was also in constant communication with Chris and his office and also sent Ross Cadell to Grafton to provide on the ground support.
The Parliamentary leadership team led by Andrew Stoner met with a delegation from Grafton led by Chris and commenced discussions with the Premier on the issue.
I cannot understate the level of support and work that was carried out by all within the Party, largely behind closed doors, to try and rectify this issue for the people of Grafton.
I too was in constant contact with Chris and our Federal Candidate for Page Kevin Hogan over the last fortnight.
Although the original decision stood and was not delayed as requested by many, The Nationals were able to convince the Premier to determine what Government Department or jobs can be decentralised to Grafton and report back within eight weeks, in addition to the North Coast Jobs action plan which the Deputy Premier announced last week. This will result in a net increase in the number of Government jobs in Grafton in the near future.
There have been many lessons learnt from this exercise, but contrary to some of the comments from a number of sources (disappointingly even from some of our own members) The Nationals have made a difference in fighting for the Grafton community. We need to remember that it was the previous Labor Government that commissioned the construction of the Cessnock correctional facility, clearly with the view to relocating prisoners from older prisons like Grafton to Cessnock.
Although we would have preferred not to go through the last fortnight, Grafton will benefit in the long run due to the hard work that The Nationals have done throughout this difficult issue.
I truly believe that if it was not for The Nationals the jobs that will be lost due to the Gaol being reclassified to a remand centre would have been lost with no other opportunities provided.
While the Grafton community faces some immediate challenges, the future for jobs in the region is stronger as a direct result of The Nationals' actions over the past two weeks.
Hon Niall Blair MLC
Some background to the issue: