There is much that is galling about pork-barrelling but the latest tranche that came before Upper Hunter Shire Council at its December 2020 meeting is particularly poignant.
Parking views to the side as to whether our local government area ought to actually qualify for the ‘Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund’ scheme, one of the eligibility categories listed made me want to weep.
There in the December meeting papers was the category ‘Social development’ which among other things referred to community development and wellbeing, social support or social development initiatives such as resilience programmes, community groups, community critical social infrastructure.
We had this in our Shire – we had an amazing community group in Murrurundi who have spent the last few years trying to save the original building of the Murrurundi Wilson Memorial Hospital built in 1919.
They were trying to save it for just such purposes but the NSW government were not interested, and neither were Upper Hunter Shire Council.
Only two months ago our Council refused to apply for an interim heritage order which if granted may have bought some time for the Murrurundi community group to see their vision of their own unique ‘social development initiative’ come to fruition.
As of Friday, 11th December 2020, the historic Murrurundi Wilson Memorial Hospital, a beautiful building with so much community history and connection and valued at over $2 million, is now just a pile of rubble, and money for votes is being thrown around again. Sigh.