Eurobodalla council moves to mitigate federal Budget impacts

THE bellwether card will be played in Canberra on Thursday, when Eurobodalla officials push the shire’s Budget barrow with Eden-Monaro MP Dr Peter Hendy.

Mayor Lindsay Brown and general manager Dr Catherine Dale are scheduled to meet the Coalition MP in his Parliament House office on Thursday afternoon, to discuss the impact of the federal Budget on the shire.

Declaring the lead-up to Tuesday night’s Budget “an anxious moment for many”, Cr Brown said Dr Hendy was in a position to help, given his seat’s status as a bellwether success.

“Peter can help because he is in a marginal seat and they are the seats the federal government needs to win at the next election,” Cr Brown said.

“Peter will be putting his case to his colleagues that this electorate is hurting and needs support.

“If they wish to remain in government and do what they say they wish to do over the next ten years, they need Eden-Monaro. 

“It is a bellwether seat and they want it to remain in Liberal hands. We hope Peter will put forward our case as strongly as possible.”

On the eve of the Budget, Cr Brown said federal public service cuts had historically hurt the shire’s economy.

“The impact of what could possibly be large-scale changes to the numbers of public servants will have an impact on the coast,” he said.

“What it does do for those who do remain in the public service is put them on notice that their jobs are not secure, so therefore you would think spending would be retracted. 

“They would be very concerned and saving as much as they can in case they are in the next round. 

“Wherever there is doubt, there is always anxiety and where there is anxiety, there is always a tightening of purses. In general that will be a big concern for us.

“The last time there were serious numbers (of job cuts) mentioned in the Budget, Canberra went into a minor recession. 

“That was back in the ‘90s and that obviously was a major hit on us.”

Cr Brown said the cuts could encourage people to move earlier to the coast than they had intended.

He said he would also discuss with Dr Hendy a cut in the $40 million flagged for highway spending.

“We are always talking about infrastructure spending, about issues regarding highways and access, about bridges that need to be repaired and general support for our community,” he said.

Cr Brown said changes to the disability support pension and to community services would be scrutinised.

“Council plays a major role in providing social services in the community and any cut to funding or change to the financial model will always be closely scrutinised by us,” he said.

“We will talk to Peter about how we can minimise the impact on the most vulnerable in our community.”

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