So now that the procrastination is over and we finally have a result at Federal level, does that mean that things will improve or stagnate here in Cairns?
We have a Government who have chosen the NBN as being an important factor in the decision making process. Good news for us. This means that sooner, rather than later, we will be on equal footing in the north with those who reside in and around Capital cities. We will be able to access quality, fast internet at speeds never seen before in regional Australia which means that our children will have a better education, our doctors will have better support and businesses will thrive. Locally, things are looking good in that regard.
The Independants also listed the environment and climate change in particular as being a primary concern for them. The Green member in Melbourne also (obviously) listed this as an integral part of his decision. Will this mean that the fishing industry will be out of work? Well, quite simply, no. What it will mean is that the Barrier Reef will be further protected from over fishing (note the word; OVER) so that the fishing industry can enjoy decades of sustainable business. We are leading the world in this area and are one of only a handful of countries ensuring we will have the benefits of omega 3 products beyond 2030. It will require adjusting to and it will have an initial stage of confusion, these things always do. Beyond that however, commercial fisheries will flourish and continue to thrive. Locals wanting to throw in a line will also continue to be allowed to do that, most of the space gazetted is not used currently by the average recreational fisherman anyway.
Climate Change will be re-visited. It has been acknowledged by almost all politicians that this is still an area we need to improve on and we need to get urgency back into our debates. This issue polarises Australians and locals regarding the best method of addressing the issue and the need to do it quickly. Cairns is opposed to change, the majority of us are happy with the status quo, good or bad. At least that way we always know what to expect, and our expectations of politicians is frightfully low. Will there be an ETS? Probably. Will it impact on prices for petrol, food and services? Maybe. The real question we should be asking is 'How can we become less reliant on fossil fuels?'. My hope is that this will be discussed more fervently than ever before and real measures to encourage innovation in this area are implemented and correctly marketed.
The final 'sticking point' was the health system, with one MP making a deal for Tassie a week ago and another two today brokering a deal which will see round one of the health package, total value of 1.8 billion, being offered by tender process, only to Regional areas. This means that Cairns will get a go at part of that BEFORE Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne etc...I see no bad points in that one.
Hopefully the GP Superclinic in Edmonton will continue to get the go ahead. Living in that area myself, I am keenly aware of the need on this side of town for a medical facility that is open after hours and on weekends. We have excellent GP facilities already, as I am sure the city and the beaches also have, but travelling all the way in to the city to access a doctor with three kids in tow, at 10 p.m is never anyone's idea of a good time.
My further hope is that the hospital development in Edmonton recieves partial funding to get the ball rolling. I realise that this is a State issue, but Federal help will not be shunned, of that I am positive.
Lastly I hope that the Council will consider an idea of mine to open a facility within the current 24hr City Medical Centre that has a dedicated nurse dealing ONLY with tourists and locals requiring vaccinations for overseas travel. This aspect of the services offered at the centre accounts for a large proportion of visitors and holds up assistance for those who are actually unwell. I realise that the payment they recieve from these people probably helps fund the entire facility but customers would be less frustrated and get medical help quicker if there was a dedicated area for these patients. Federal funding may just be available shortly to help with that.
Locally, we have much to look ahead to. There are quite a few positives to come from this decision, regardless of your political slant. It will no doubt be an interesting ride, but one I am more than happy to go along for.