In last Friday's Tribune (May 11) there were some gloomy assessments of the latest federal budget and the indications are that there will be very little of benefit to Yass and its district to come from it. Mayor Nic Carmody commented that there seemed to be no funding geared toward the area's infrastructure or local government needs, in spite of continued lobbying from the council and, apparently, from the retiring member for Hume, Alby Schultz. Alby has been rather a disappointment in the matter of bringing the attention of the budgetary decision-makers to the funding needs of this part of his electorate.
It has to be conceded that it is very difficult for Alby Schultz, being now part of the opposition, to do much for our district, but one has to ask about the effectiveness of his performance on the behalf of the Yass Valley when he was in the Howard government for all those years with, for example, the continuing neglect of the Barton Highway, among the nation's worst roads, having had very little done to it except for some recent and fairly questionable re-routing between Yass and Murrumbateman.
Alby also comes in for some questioning from This Week by David Barnett (Tribune Wednesday May 9) which gratuitously describes him from the National Party's point of view as "a knockabout kind of guy, hard to beat", seeing Hume as properly its seat, with promises to mount a strong campaign for it. This might be a further clue as to dissatisfaction with Alby's performance in the seat and, perhaps, for the benefits that Hume has missed out on during his tenure.
The latest news on Alby's replacement is that the new Liberal candidate for Hume is Angus Taylor. He looks to be a very fine candidate, too, and if elected will surely be a member of a coalition government after the next election. It is to be hoped that he will not forget that the Yass Valley is part of his electorate and that he will make strong efforts to see that urgent work on roads and infrastructure is given proper attention. Maybe something will at long last be done regarding the funding of the Barton Highway and the Yass Dam wall.
A closing comment on Treasurers and Budgets would be to compare Wayne Swan, a lame duck Treasurer if ever there was one, having recently been given a best Treasurer accolade - a very doubtful honour in a world where most other countries are in dire financial straits - with a previous Treasurer who was similarly recognised, in Paul Keating who rightly described himself as the Placido Domingo of World Treasurers, with his fine intelligence, instinctive and imaginative understanding of fiscal matters and his great style, all of which our present dreary incumbent lacks.