Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 2 August 2016) . . Page.. 2051 ..
On top of the rural positives, the move to the space age with the building of the tracking stations brought with it tourism and jobs, together with excitement, new friends and confidence. This happened with little, if any, detrimental impact on our community, but of course it was too good to last.
Unfortunately, Australia started moving from a population ingrained with get up and go after enduring a depression and two world wars to approach a generation of educated politicians and bureaucrats out of touch with the real world of those decades. Red tape and rules were inevitable and the ACT really started sliding downhill.
First came the mass ugly resumption of ACT freehold land, done by letter without even the courtesy of a discussion. Letters of resumption were served on the rural landholders by post on a Saturday morning. I vividly remember Peter Snow, the owner of Cuppacumbalong property, an ex-gunner in the war, coming up to me with the letter in his hands that informed him that he had “14 days to treat”; an ex-soldier, a friend and mentor with tears in his eyes.
It was the beginning of the end of respect for our rural community that bureaucrats saw themselves as more important than the community they needed to be part of. With only 30-day agistment leases for ACT rural land, there was no incentive for landholders to maintain and improve the integrity of their property. As a result, we have now inherited properties full of weeds and other ugly and expensive environmental problems.
However, we have also inherited a precious, beautiful and heritage village, the oldest town in the ACT that has not received one iota of respect since self-government. Tharwa community has a history of looking after itself. With a progress association in the early days that was respected when under federal governance we were able to get things done, like the sealing of the road to the Monaro Highway, the removal of gates on the main road, equipment to fight fires, the provision of our own water supply, the building of our own hall, the lobbying for electricity et cetera.
Sadly, self-government has brought the rural ACT insecurity and uncertainty, with bureaucratic over-dominance and lack of support. For instance, since self-government not one kilometre more of rural road has been sealed. Rural bridges were virtually crucified. The Tharwa Bridge essential maintenance was ignored until the vital bridge was shut for seven years with rebuilding costing over $25 million. The Smiths Road Bridge was set up to wash away. The Angle and Point Hut crossings were not raised by even one centimetre.
The Adaminaby Road was ignored for any improvement. Night-time protection under the Tharwa Bridge was not secured from drug dealers and hoons after the bridge restoration work. The community-installed Tharwa water supply, over 50 years old, was failing and ignored. There was the unwarranted Tharwa school closure insult, and it goes on.
A possibly greater threat to the ACT than even terrorism is the threat of bushfires. The 1939 major bushfire to the west of the ACT was a wakeup call. A little over