December 21st 2010
Walkway “commitment” walk away
"I have committed to deliver federal funding of $4.7 m to complete the walkway from Nelly Bay to Arcadia." was what failed ALP candidate for Herbert, Tony Mooney, told Magnetic Times before the last election. But, just so we are clear on this, that's the kind of promise which is OK for the ALP to break. Not because it can’t deliver but because their Tony didn't win Herbert.
The walkway issue has topped Magnetic Island's infrastructural wish list for at least three Federal elections now and has reemerged after Mayor Les Tyrell reportedly received verbal advice from the government that because the walkway pledge wasn't delivered by a minister it doesn't count.
Labor's Senator Jan McLucas, has since clarified the walkway walk away telling Magnetic Times, “All election commitments made by the Gillard Government were announced by a senior Minister in conjunction with the candidate and went through the Charter of Budget Honesty process, unlike many of the commitments made by the Liberal Party.”
Fortunately for the government it seems our old Mayor Mooney took one for the side as McLucas adds, “Since the election, Mr Mooney has publically stated that to get the project signed off was dependent on him getting elected.”
Townsville City Councillor for Magnetic Island, Trevor Roberts told Magnetic Times, “Tony Mooney, made this promise matching the commitment offered by the LNP during the course of his campaign. Whether there was a minister standing beside Mr Mooney nodding his head or not the promise was made and I expect the Gillard Labor Government to do nothing less than deliver on that commitment.”
Jan McLucas is however unrepentant and is advising TCC to apply for some of the $800M Priority Regional Infrastructure Program for the walkway.
And while the spat between pollies is all so predictable the methods used to wriggle out of “commitments” needs more scrutiny. Tony Mooney would never have released such a “commitment” without having it vetted by the party. At least the lackluster George Colbran in the election previously stuck to meaningless generalisations, "If he is convinced the community wants it he will get behind it," said his spokesperson at the time.
How unsurprising is it then for voters to now learn that the “commitment”, which came from the ALP’s endorsed candidate, was conditional on him and not his party being elected. Cynical voters might even start to believe that they were being punished for voting the wrong way.
Of course the real punishment will be upon the poor pedestrian who votes with his or her feet to follow the walkway to lands end at Greystone Corner. The type who, full of holiday exhuberance, decides to continue legging it over the hill on the road when the bus and the concrete mixer happen to slip past each other but can’t find the room for the walker who is squished against the guard rail or flipped over the cliff.
Editorial and photo: George Hirst
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