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Friday, February 24, 2006

Wingecarribee Shire Council playing the "Blame Game"

On Wednesday, 22 February, 2005, Wingecarribee Shire Council voted to not submit an "Expression of Interest" to the State Government for the proposed gaol in the Illawarra Region. Good.

Council brought in Police to "protect" themselves. What a farce!

According to a report in the Illawarra Mercury:
"Wingecarribee Shire Council general manager Mike Hyde said the security was necessary after the "shameful" display of behaviour during a public meeting at Robertson last week. Wingecarribee Shire Council general manager Mike Hyde said the security was necessary after the

"shameful" display of behaviour during a public meeting at Robertson last week."

I have been somewhat critical of the behaviour of the Robertson protestors at the Public Meeting, last week. After the meeting I wrote:"From the point of view of the Council, they were not treated with respect, and certainly the mood of the meeting was hostile to them. It was not as bad as it might have been."

However, it needs to be recorded that it was Council's poor preparation of the entire bid, and in particular its poor attempt at "consultation" with the Robertson community which is the truly shameful part of this whole "shabby" exercise by Council.


As I wrote on 8 February in a blog entry entitled: "A Script by Gilbert and Sullivan"

"Where do Gilbert and Sullivan enter into the story? Well already, of course. Because none of this is real. It is "just a proposal". Other areas are dead keen to get a jail (of course). Don't worry about that - we can use it anyway. We'll "offer it" to Robertson, and just watch them scream! Great. The more noise they make, the better.


"Sure, from Council's point of view, the more noise the Residents make, the better, as it means they will never have to offer Robertson a thing, ever, ever again. They can simply say: "Remember when we were going to give you a jail to solve your local unemployment problems, and diversify and modernise your rural-based economy. You could have had it all, and you said NO!".


"Well, let us ask a few pertinent questions, before we allow Council to get away with that scam."


It seems from Mr Hyde's comments that Council is sticking to their farcical script. That is shameful.

Now it is up to Robertson people not to let Council get away with playing a cheap "Blame Game". Council was never serious in its proposal to bid for Robertson to be the site of the proposed gaol. The location at Robertson was never suitable, for reasons of the lack of instrastructure (which was never addressed by Council), and for the difficult physical conditions of the site (which Council ignored).

The "consultation" process was totally inadequate. In my view, Council was never serious. Or if they claim to have been serious, then, at the very least, they still have to answer for their preparation of the "bid" being so unprofessional.


Fact: Shoalhaven Council voted to bid for this process on 29 June 2005.

Fact: Premier Iemma announced this proposal in State Parliament on 19 October 2005.

Fact: Shoalhaven Mayor welcomed the Premier's announcement - 19 October 2005

Fact: Wingecarribee Council staff told us last week that the "first thing they knew" of this process was at a "briefing" by the Corrective Services Department at Bombaderry on 7 December 2005.

Question: Was the W.S.C. "asleep at the wheel"? Or are they misleading us?

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