Wednesday, December 07, 2011

New state support grows in Newcastle

My thanks to Greg for this one.

In Container port bound for Botany, the Newcastle Herald reports that the Sydney Government is to ditch the long standing plan to make Newcastle the next NSW container port after Botany Bay.

The story attracted a range of comments reflecting the way an issue likes this generates divergent views. Yet what was interesting from my viewpoint were the number of comments suggesting that this was yet another example of the need for a New England or Northern new state.

I haven't checked back, I am short of time, but it must be two years now that the need for a new state first surfaced in comments on Herald stories.  At first the comments were scattered. Now they have become a consistent thread. The simple idea that self-government for the North is a part solution to the problems of misgovernment in the Hunter is becoming entrenched.

Obviously I welcome this, given my own views. Yet what's interesting from a political perspective is the way that an idea once rejected as just too left field, a figment of the past, has again become current.

Wearing my New England hat, the politicians ignore this at their peril. The defeat of the NSW Labor Government was widely welcomed as the start of a new direction in NSW. In relief, people were prepared to give Sydney the benefit of the doubt. And yet. all this did was suspend a deeply felt cynicism.

What commentators and others locked into conventional metro mind sets fail to realise is that this cynicism is not just about politics as such, but about the actual structures of Government.

My 23rd November Express column was entitled return of New England. New England is back. Ignore us at your peril!


Greg said...

There will always be those that don't or won't see the benefits of home government. But slowly and surely, more people are coming to the conclusion that Sydney is failing the rest of NSW.

Mark said...

And should the current Sydney Government fail to deliver to the Hunter Valley as a whole, people here will have no doubts that whomever they vote for, the results are the same. The cynicism will become more mainstream and therefore the idea of secession becomes less radical.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi both. Sorry for the delay in responding. I think it inevitable, Mark, that Sydney will fail to deliver and for the same structural reasons as before.

Anonymous said...

I believe that in the 60's or something this topic of the hunter region becoming a territory or state was actually voted on and it failed, only now we see and feel the outcomes of voters back then probably not their fault at the time but my question is who actually came up with that idea? in these times it is obvious it needs to be done sooner rather then later. If so the NSW Gov will be opposed to the idea, will play spin and in all reality will never happen.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Anon. I have written some history posts on this. Will bring them up in a separate post.