Letters

Where subsidisation is considered productive

Ed,

Subsidisation is a benefit, usually money, obtained to support an economy. If an economy is reliant on subsidisation then obviously it is not productive and eventually will collapse when that subsidisation subsides or withdrawn.

Consequently the ideal economy is not one that relies on subsidies, but one that is efficient and productive, capable of generating income to pay its outgoings.

But rather than endeavour to be productive, our Council wants to take us back to the past and reclaim Grafton’s “City Status” on the assumption that “Grafton and the Clarence Valley will possibly miss out on funding for future strategic growth.” 

We all know from experience this has not worked in the past. Once stuck with these costly assets, we, one of the poorest communities in NSW have to pay the costs to maintain them.

How on earth does Grafton “Regional” airport with its costly and limited services be a competitive force against government funded Ballina and Coffs Harbour airports?

The residents of the Lower Clarence have known for some time that it’s much cheaper to get the shuttle bus to Ballina airport that offers cheaper and more diverse services. Yet Grafton residents can similarly do the same with Coffs airport.

By illuminating the burdensome costs of maintaining a Grafton “Regional” airport is cost productive.

And how on earth does a $17m government grant to build a Grafton “Regional” Aquatic Centre generate “strategic growth” to the Lower Clarence some 70ks away? It is Grafton that enjoys the direct benefit from such facility, the rest of the community have to share its maintenance costs. Where is the economic “strategic growth” in that?

Similarly where is the economic “strategic growth” in a $1.5m Grafton “Regional” children’s playground when the children of the Lower Clarence are unable to use it? Yet once again their parents have to share its maintenance costs.

And of course the $600,000pa Grafton “Regional” gallery once again directly benefits Grafton, yet the rest of the shire have to pay its maintenance costs.

To achieve a productive economy, Council need only identify its productive markets and then value adds.

An example of economic “strategic growth” is the use of Yamba’s Calypso Tourist Park. Unlike Graftons multi million dollar waterfront precinct, Yamba has sacrificed its CBD waterfront precinct with the caravan park that not only pays for itself, but also generates revenues to fund life saving services for Yamba’s “Regional” beaches as well as fund its rock pool a favourite with tourists.

It is this productive investment that leads to genuine economic “strategic growth”, not the continual subsidisation of the falsely claimed “City of Grafton” that leaves the rest of the shire having to pay for its upkeep.

When the new highway is completed it will be many kilometres from Grafton and under the circumstances Grafton must be considered a poor investment. Yet Maclean is on the Highway and could be considered the gateway to the Clarence Valley and a good investment. Juxa posed is Iluka and Yamba with existing recreational and tourist markets which can be value added and provide genuine economic “strategic growth’.

Why must we continue to have a Grafton centric Council still living in the past that believes what has failed us in the past will nevertheless provide us with economic “strategic growth” in the future?

Ray Hunt, Yamba

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