Who is Driving the Bus? Black Rock Camping Ground Beach Access
WHO IS DRIVING THE BUS?
Over the years I have witnessed things I could not believe had happened. For example : I attended a public meeting at Black Rock Camping area in the Bundjalung National Park attended by State members of Parliament, NSW National Parks Executive members and members of the general public. This meeting was called to discuss the access road between the camping area and Shark Bay Beach. The meeting was advised that the access road was not closed BUT is has not been opened in the 3 years since this meeting.
In running for the present NSW State Government, local member Mr. Chris Gulaptis stated that re-opening of the beach access would be a commitment if elected. Yet this still has not occurred.
Letters written to the then Minister Robyn Parker brought the response that the cost of providing access to the beach to the required engineering standard was prohibitive.
Quotes provided by local contractors were well below those originally provided, but have been rejected as apparently they did not have qualified engineering input and as such could not be accepted for reasons of insurance and compensation.
In the past 12 months work has been carried out at the Woody Head Caravan Park (part of the Bundjalung National Park which includes Black Rock Camping Area). This caravan park has possibly up to 1000 times the visitor numbers and public use compared to the area at Black Rock. Examination of the completed work suggests that the design and construction was achieved without qualified engineering input. If this is the case, excuses for still not having re-open the beach access at Black Rock as seriously questioned.
I believe that Senior officers from two local Rural Fire Brigades have stated that access to the Black Rock camping ground from Shark Bay is necessary to provide an escape route for both residents of the camping ground as well as those from Iluka in the event of major bushfire. It should be noted that facilities of the camping area were seriously damaged by bushfire as the result of a NSWNP fuel reduction burn in recent times. Furthermore the populations of both Iluka and Woody Head Caravan Park increase enormously during peak bushfire danger periods. I am confident that SES management in the local area would hold a similar concern.
Generally, our local member Chris Gulaptis cannot be spoken of highly enough . He has supported attempts to extend the area of Recreational Fishing Haven in the Clarence River Estuary. Mr.Gulaptis has been fair in listening to recreational and commercial fishermen as well members of the local business community and appears to have realized that in the NSW Northern Rivers region greater tourism means more jobs and greater economic security. However he has failed his constituents with regard to Black Rock.
WHO is driving the bus? On the basis of his pledges Mr.Gulaptis was elected to the NSW Parliament to represent those who had elected him. As a member of State Parliament Mr.Gulaptis should be driving the bus, with us his constituents, the passengers! The conductor of the bus therefore must be the public servants who support the parliamentarians.
Last time I looked, the bus driver drove the bus, the conductor collected the money and the passengers who rode in the bus paid for this service! The way things seem presently to be happening in the State is that the conductor wants to take your tax dollars to keep the bus running ie the departmental public servants.
We vote every four years to elect a Parliament to run the State on our behalf. We do not however have any say in the public servants who administer the policies of the party we have voted in. We don't change the public servants as often. Often it seems that they are reinstated in the new parliament through 'jobs for boys'!! And old beliefs, behaviors and habits remain. With new policies being introduced we need new ideas and approaches and personnel to implement these.
It appears that NSWNP has made decisions about the beach access (for a range of reasons which appear unjustified and extremely questionable). It seems to be driving the bus! Is this situation; should this situation be correct?
Tom Weiers, Iluka, NSW