JOHN F. Kennedy once said: “The efforts of the government alone will never be enough. In the end, the people must choose and the people must help themselves.”
What was true then is even more so now as the voters of the south-west contemplate a packed field for the seat of South West Coast at next month’s state election.
With Member for Western Victoria James Purcell sensationally announcing he’ll step down from his upper house seat to stand as an Independent for the safe Liberal seat, it is time for the people of the south-west to help themselves, as JFK once urged.
The region has already been bombarded with promises and pledges from all sides with the election just 42 days away.
So far, we’ve already heard fantastic notions of a $19 billion fast rail link from Warrnambool to Melbourne, a 10-year Liberal-National plan with little detail but a lot of nation-building vision.
Sitting MP Roma Britnell has also shrewdly lined up with voices calling for an enclosed harbour, declaring a Coalition government would write a blank cheque to close that endless debate. She has also promised to fund The Lookout drug and alcohol rehab centre and is talking about skills shortages that hamper the region’s development.
The Andrews Labor Government through candidate Kylie Gaston is talking about already-funded railway improvements worth $114 million being delivered in the next two years. It is talking up massive funding boosts for early childhood education, schools and TAFEs across the regional Victoria, Friday’s library announcement and a track record of social and infrastructure achievements that have left it well ahead in statewide polls. Via Mr Purcell they have made a swag of smaller but vital funding announcements such as the $7 million Reid Oval upgrade.
But as tiring and frankly unbelievable as election promises can (and will) be, the people of the south-west must tune in, turn on and speak out.
Be informed about the major parties, the Greens and Independents such as Mr Purcell and Mike Neoh. And then choose, vote and help ourselves.