Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tragic Grafton drowning, 1943

Pretty obviously, I am still trying to get back to regular posting. Tonight, just a link to Mark's An Utter Tragedy, a very sad story from Grafton's past.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nathan Tinkler re-locates

While I have been off-line, I have been following the saga of Nathan Tinkler, to my knowledge New England's only billionaire. First there was his move to Singapore. Now comes his bid for full control over his just sold assets.

While I have been reading the various story, I wonder if any of my Hunter readers have comments to make on what it all means from a local perspective.  

Friday, June 08, 2012

Armidale in summer!

This one came from Lynne and made me shiver. It is a picture of Armidale apparently taken in mid-Summer.

Now Armidale in mid-Summer is normally not as bad as this! But it does remind us how cold the New England Highlands can get.

But then, and unlike Sydney, Armidale is geared for cold weather. In Armidale, you surround the open fire. In Sydney, there is rarely such a thing as an open fire. That's a pity.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

FIFO & decentralisation – the irony of it all

It’s ironic, really. First we discourage people from going to the country, then we complain when they won’t come!

We began by centralising services in the name of efficiency, progressively withdrawing them from country areas. We introduced new codes and rules designed to improve standards and reduce consumer risks, increasing costs so that many activities including land development and trades became uneconomic in smaller country marketplaces.

When country people complained, sought effective decentralisation, they received little sympathy. It was just a fact of life, they were told. Band aids were applied, but little more.

Now when we really need people to move to regional areas to support the mining boom, no one is prepared to go. BHP Billiton and the other major miners comment on the remarkable immobility of Australia’s generally city based work force. It’s really a case of what if we had a boom and nobody came!

It is frankly absurd that we have to fly workers across a continent and back to ensure that the mines keep going. It is equally absurd, tragic in fact, that the process should rip the guts out of local activities that survived “restructuring” because of the impact on local rents and wage costs.

None of this need have happened, or at least not to the same extent. Bluntly, a lot of what happened was foreseeable. It’s not just that we have been there before. Importantly, the lead times involved in the changes taking place mean that many elements were foreseeable.

Western Australia’s National Party rode from oblivion to renewed power in a stunning political transformation on the back of a slogan, royalties for the regions. Now local development is taking place in the Pilbara and elsewhere in ways not seen in Sydney controlled New England or Brisbane controlled Central Queensland.

In a way, the WA National Party was just too late. If it had been successful three years earlier, the extra time would have allowed proper ramp up of activities in advance of the mining avalanche. Still, they are making progress.

I do wonder how different things might have been in the east if Capricornia or New England had achieved statehood.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Coming back on line

I finally have the internet connection on after having moved. Will now be returning to regular posting.