PRIVATISING THE GAP IN PUBLIC SERVICES
There has been much written and said about the recent decision for the Solomon Islands to enter into an agreement with China for funding and support services, in exchange for access and positioning. In really simple terms, it was one small country that needed some financial help, letting itself be helped by a bigger country.
The helping hand that the Solomon Islands needed could have come from Australia, but our Budgets in recent years have decided to cut foreign aid funding. In the past, we have helped our Pacific neighbours with funds to build schools and hospitals and roads that opened up tourism and lifted tens of thousands of people out of poverty. But sadly, over the past 7-8 years we have become more insular and selfish and less willing to help others. So along comes another country to offer the required aid and assistance. No one should be that surprised, and if anyone is angry, we can only blame our own Government and ourselves.
In NSW similar gaps in support and services are being created by a lack of funding and support from Government. This includes school and hospitals.
I spoke with one of our residents recently that had been sick and had to call an ambulance. When he was picked up, he was told by our over-stretched paramedics that the wait times in emergency at our local hospitals were extreme, and would he be willing to go to the private hospital emergency department where he could be seen, almost immediately, for a fee. The patient chose to pay the $XX fee to have the quickest treatment. That is a failure of our public system. Urgent health care, emergency care, should not be a question of who can afford it.
Right now, our corner of the world is seeing a major increase in new housing developments in brand new “green-field” sites, like those at Huntlee, Cameron Park and Heddon Greta. It seems obvious that when you build several thousand new homes that you would require facilities, like schools, to also be built to support these new residents. Does that sound reasonable to you?
But there seems to be an approach by the State Government that if you delay, delay, delay the construction of new public schools in these new areas then perhaps a private entity might come along and build a school first. And of course, a private school sets their own fees which will be affordable to some but not others. This is a failure of our public system. Education, that is close and accessible, is not a choice, it’s a right!
Being absent is the most pathetic of all Government actions. One of the greatest strengths of this country is the effort and energy that has, in the past, been put into making sure that we can provide health and education to all. When did it become OK to sit that out?
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