Shooters claim credit for $10-million boat ramp funding
THE wheels of government are said to move slowly, but not when an election looms, it seems.
Today's $10 million funding commitment to the Coffs Harbour boat ramp, announced by The Nationals and this afternoon matched by the Labor, follows Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Stuart Davidson recently picking up on the boat ramp matter and meeting with boat owners and fishermen on Australia Day.
In response to Deputy Premier John Barilaro's announcement this morning Mr Davidson said he 'considers this a win."
"This is an absolute win for Coffs. This funding wasn't even on the radar last week," Mr Davidson said.
"Andrew Fraser (Member for Coffs Harbour) has been sitting on this, putting people's safety at risk, for 28 years.
"He was on radio last week and had no idea how grant money had been spent, let alone what amount was required for the boat ramp," Mr Davidson said.
Mr Fraser fired a parting shot at Mr Davidson in that radio interview, insinuating he wasn't across the whole history of the boat ramp given had been in town for just 15 minutes.
In 2015, under Mr Fraser's representations to Cabinet, the NSW government awarded Coffs Harbour City Council over a million dollars out of the Roads, Maritime and Freight budget to widen the basin of the boat ramp.
Today Mr Fraser publicly vented his frustration at the works that were undertaken by the council questioning whether some of the funds had been channelled into the Jetty Foreshores upgrade.
"We were told, I can't remember how long ago, that a plan was being put forward to put a rock groin out to stop the sand coming in, we provided $1.2 million to that and look there are people here who can tell me where that was spent, but there was a fair amount of that money that was spent on the foreshore and not on the boat ramp," Mr Fraser told media today.
Locally, this is the first election the SFF have run a Lower House candidate in Coffs Harbour.
The party, which famously claimed the seat of Orange from The Nationals said it will be running candidates in up to 25 seats around NSW.
"This is proof of what can be done when the SFF make noise in an electorate," Mr Davidson said.
"The Nats are running scared that their history of siding with the inner-city green vote will catch up with them this election.
In launching his campaign, Mr Davidson famously vowed that 'Orange was the new black in politics,' in talking up the party's rivalry with The Nationals and the backlash against the country-based party.
"Gladys was in Orange yesterday trying to bribe that electorate, and her second in charge the Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals was here today, doing the same," he said.
"They are taking everyone for fools," said Mr Davidson.
"The real heroes of this outcome is the Coffs Harbour Regional Boat Ramp Precinct Enhancement Committee.
"They have been banging on politicians doors trying to get this funding.
"The Deputy Premier said that this is not an election commitment, but rather money in the bank. The community has heard these promises before. Let's hope that this cheque doesn't bounce before the Committee cash in on this promise."