Andrew Fraser State MP and Luke Hartsuyker Federal MP are both retiring for The Nationals at the 2019 Elections.
Andrew Fraser State MP and Luke Hartsuyker Federal MP are both retiring for The Nationals at the 2019 Elections. Trevor Veale

Life after Coffs Harbour's outgoing MPs

Letters to the Editor

ALONG with the great majority of residents, I believe I've enjoyed a pretty good life in Coffs Harbour.

When one reads the propaganda in media outlets such as Focus the self-styled "positive, inspiring and beautifully presented (monthly) magazine "it is understandable that we have our belief reinforced."

Accordingly, we have continued to elect politicians that will do nothing to change things as they are.

We have elected small town politicians with a limited vision for a place that is no longer immune from forces that are playing out worldwide - not least is the impact that changes to the climate are going to have on all of us, including extreme temperatures, increasing the likelihood of weather-related natural disasters.

I never thought I'd need a bedroom air conditioner in the "best climate in the world" in order to be able to sleep, as my wife and I now have needed since 2013 despite a sea breeze.

Whether it is the theft of water from the Murray-Darling Basin, climate change denial, inaction on Coffs Harbour bypass, energy costs, the loss of billons through poor administration of the VETFEE HELP scheme, these matters have had and will continue to impact on all of us in Coffs Harbour and the wider community, whatever our particular circumstances might be, including small business.

These matters have had and are having an impact on me and my children and my grandchildren.

These matters cost us, and Australia, dearly.

Coffs Harbour is, in more than one sense, a global, albeit small city, but needs representatives who think beyond the strictly local, beyond the next election, and beyond their generous taxpayer-funded retirement benefits.

Ian Muldoon, Coffs Harbour

Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker.
Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker. Trevor Veale

Mr Hartsuyker's 17-years in politics

THE retirement of Mr Hartsuyker, as Member for Cowper, is a cause for celebration in our electorate.

His claimed "achievements" are mythical.

He takes credit for the Kempsey Bypass and duplication of the Pacific Highway, yet when this was proposed by the Rudd government in 2009, Mr Hartsuyker decried it as "another example of Labor's reckless spending" and he actually voted against it.

When the Kempsey Bypass was opened in 2013, Mr Hartsuyker did not attend, although Rob Oakeshott from the Lyne electorate who was instrumental in the Highway funding and other things did.

Mr Hartsuyker also voted against $40 million for Kempsey Hospital, $2.2 million for Crescent Head Surf Club building and $23million for the 23 local schools in our electorate, yet was happy to attend the openings of many of those projects.

The leader of the Opposition at that time was one Malcolm Turnbull (pre Godwin Grech).

Mr Hartsuyker fails to take credit for many other things, such as the high unemployment rate, the extreme disadvantage, lack of environmental action, high power prices in this electorate and delays on the Coffs Harbour Bypass.

During his 17 years in office all those opportunities have been wasted.

Every year since coming to office the LNP government have reduced the amount of funds provided to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and veterans.

This year despite a promise of "an extra $112 million" by the Treasurer in his budget speech, the figures show an actual cut of $438million to DVA funds.

This makes $2.67 billion cut from veterans funds by the LNP since 2013.

I have been unable to obtain an explanation from Mr Hartsuyker to this funding cut or the reason Parliament was misled.

Mike Dutton, Kempsey

Bunker Gallery volunteers Con Makris, Warwick Gilbert and Mick Clementson work on framing the exhibition. pic: Rob Wright
The Bunker Cartoon Gallery. Rob Wright

Decision sealed the fate of the Bunker

IT was a very sad day for Coffs Harbour following Thursday night's meeting of Coffs Harbour City Council, where the mayor used her casting vote to effectively close The Bunker Cartoon Gallery.

It may not close this month or even this year, but close it will.

By voting against her General Manager's report and motion to provide seed funding to the Bunker Cartoon Gallery for a project, which would likely lead to its long-term financial sustainability, the fate of the gallery has been sealed.

With State Government finances up for grabs to fund the gallery's sustainability plans, the councillors put in place enough ill-informed obstacles and unnecessary delaying tactics to make it impossible for funding applications to meet the State Government deadlines.

What a missed opportunity.

The community board, the overworked part-time staff, the volunteers and members of the Rotary Club of Coffs City and the community who work collaboratively to run this unique little gem, are left shaking their heads. Very sad indeed.

C. Lockett, Coffs Harbour

Bunker cartoon gallery. 30 January 2018
Coffs Harbour's Bunker Carton Gallery. Trevor Veale