Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why the Hunter wants out from NSW

In a recent comment on Newcastle's Heritage Problems, Greg wrote:

It is nearly one year since this blog was posted so this reply is hardly timely. Yet in the months since, the decline of the CBD of Newcastle is showing no sign of being reversed.

Newcastle is indeed one of the great jewels. It has a stunning mix of architecture from convict to early colonial through Edwardian, art deco to modern - all nestled in between a stunning coast line and a busy working port. Newcastle people are fiercely proud and parochial about their town.

Sadly neglect has been the case for some years. The 1989 earthquake, the 2007 Pasha storm, a cash strapped council and an indifferent state government which has systematically bled the Hunter of mining royalties while returning little, have all played their part. It is hard to believe that the CBD of a metropolis of 540,000 people could come to this while being at the centre of a mining and export boom.

Newcastle has very little in common with Sydney and has a very distinct character and identity of it's own. Yet even though it is the natural gateway to New England, the city has rarely looked too far past it's Hunter hinterland.

Perhaps the time has come at last to change this perspective. The city was duped into voting NO to New England secession in 1967 and consequently a great opportunity was missed.

It is vital not only for Newcastle but also for New England that the decline of the Newcastle CBD be reversed and that the city take it's place as the jewel of the New England crown. It is hard to see where the required leadership will come from under NSW which has become even more Sydney centric, if that is possible.

The issue of northern secession is being talked about again and this time it may be Newcastle which leads the push

Then in a comment on the new England New State Movement Facebook page, Nathan wrote:.

Firstly we need proper representation by our elected officials. I find nothing more frustrating when the Minister for the Hunter only ever pulls out the party line, reads the press release and won't answer any other questions. If she hasn't read the press release yet then she just replies with she is on her way to Sydney or what ever other excuse to avoid answering any questions. Its about time our local members banded together and demanded what the Hunter is rightfully entitled to.

The way i see it is that our MP's are too busy trying to be looked upon favourably by the movers and shakers in the back rooms of Macquarie Street to ensure pre selection for the next election rather than do what they were elected to do and that's represent their local constituent.

They all know, they are MP's in the Hunter so the odds are in their favour on being re elected because, people still continue to vote they way they always have and still hold their hatred for the Liberal Party.

The problem in the Hunter, Newcastle in particular is that the only option we have rather than Labor is an independent, where their preferences go to labor anyway, to its just a default vote to labor.

As much as people might not like the Liberal Party, they are the alternative government of the state and people need to just think, its may not be the solution in an ideal world but it has to be done for the greater good for the region.

Ideal solution is that the Hunter and New England Region forms its own state. But as you have stated elsewhere its a medium term goal. In the meantime, we need to swing like the branches on a windy day.

As Nathan says, full self government has to be a longer term objective. But what people forget is that the very existence of new state agitation forces people and organisations to address broader concerns.

Slowly, and very slowly, we are getting to the point that local resentments might one again force broader action.   

1 comment:

Greg said...

Hi again and Congratulations and thanks for your ongoing dedication to keeping this site going. Since I first discovered it in my internet wanderings it has become a favourite.

A shared New England identity throughout the north is a loose concept. In recent decades there has been a fragmentation into even smaller self serving identities to the disadvantage of all. Your site helps to pull the little pieces of the New England puzzle back together in one place. I know of no other efforts to do this.

Hopefully we can build on this thread to create a common sense of place and purpose throughout the north and finally achieve the ultimate goal of self government.