Change is coming. To Cairns, to the region and to Australia.
Locally we have the announcement of a land aquisition in Edmonton for the proposed new hospital development that will change health services forever in the growth corridor of Cairns. Will it work? Only if the Government does what it promised and ensures that nurses and doctors are graduating much more quickly and in larger numbers. No point having a beautiful new health facility and no staff to work in it. It will not be a reality for many years though, and there is time to change the system by allowing nurses to learn on the job, giving them better, more practical skills and also allowing them to be sure that the job is one they will stay at. It's not an easy one and those questions should be asked and answered much sooner in the process to ensure we have quality dedicated nursing staff in all of our health facilities. Provided that is done, the new health buildings are a welcome boost to the area and much needed.
Sugarworld Gardens is about to get the promised All Abilities Playground. Finally. Work is due to start in October and should be complete by December, earlier barring complications. This playground is a large one, with multi-use areas, easy access points and exploritory and sensory play encouraged. In the area around Sugarworld it was recently discovered there are no parks, no play equipment and no green spaces. No one is sure why this is the case, perhaps it is due to the size of Sugarworld. Perhaps it negates the need to put more spaces in the surrounding new development according to the rules of these things. Whoever decided it was acceptable, is wrong. There needs to be immediate action on this before more homes are built, more streets developed, all without adequate parks and playgrounds. The area behind Sugarworld near Isabella has plenty of parkland and swing sets, why was the area in front neglected? Time to find out. In the meanwhile, the new playground looks fantastic on paper and I intend to visit often when it is completed. It's full of wonderful new ideas and has plenty of room for kids to explore.
The highway intersection at the Southern Access Road (Ray Jones Dr) is about to begin also. Regardless of who you voted for and who eventually wins Government, both parties were in agreement about stage one of the highway upgrade. The ability to travel south from the city from two directions without having to negotiate that corner will be an excellent start. The access to Ray Jones Dr being a simple turn without the issues we currently have with lights will also be fantastic. The fact that we will be able to turn into McCoombe Street almost directly from that corner, bypassing Lyons, Aumuller, Buchan etc... will save plenty of time for those wishing to travel further north than the city. The only concern is with Warren Enstch and his thoughts on this issue. He would like to re-visit the idea of a second major road into Cairns via the inlet again. It has been proven time and again that this option is not a viable one due to several factors. It does not address the current and future problems with traffic in Edmonton, Bentley Park, Forest Gardens or White Rock as it bypasses those areas completely. It is not financially viable, the bridge would cost near to 4 billion alone and would be the longest such bridge ever attempted in Australia. It would be classified as the highway, thus making the existing road council or state run and therefore not capable of attracting the funds required to upgrade it at all. Whichever way you look at it the solution given by the labor Government, was the only viable one. Businesses currently on this road already must be accessed by turning off the highway, this will make that turn off much smoother. I am happy that stage one is on it's way, it's long overdue, but I sincerely hope that the entire long term project is not abandoned again in favour of more talk and no action.
Federally, we have no real Government right now. A caretaker Prime Minister and no clear path for an outcome at this point. Yesterday the Independants and the Green MP stated that they would like all MP's to vote with their conscience on every issue presented to Parliament, making the vote fairer and in all cases, a direct view from the MP and his constituents. The belief was that there would be no Blue side / Red side of politics and instead we would have a mulit-party system as most other countries now have. All members would be entitled to the same amount of time to present ideas and argue for causes. Essentially, aside from the Prime Minister, all members would be equal and independant. An interesting proposal, and one which I initially scoffed at as unrealistic. Even in the little while they each had yesterday to chat, the differences on issues such as Climate Change, the Rent Tax on Miners and Gay Marriage was vast. Taking into account though, that there are 150 people voting on each issue, and at the end of the day it's a simple yes or no, perhaps the idea is not such a bad one. It would give a true representation of beliefs and opinions, people would be held accountable for their choices and the public would know who they are being represented by and be able to lobby that one person rather than an entire party. It wouldn't be easy initially, and probably won't happen right now, or even in the next decade, but it should be looked at as a serious option. The Independants are right, as is the Green; the public voted for a more accountable, independant political system, why not take the opportunity given, and make it happen?
Regardless of whether you watch the local happenings, the regional or the national, big things are happening and they will change all of our lives for the better. With some tweaking and some lobbying by the public, Cairns and the nation are in for an interesting, growth time ahead.