RAISING THE BARR: Kurri Kurri still recovering from November windstorm

TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION: The Kurri Kurri Ambulance Hall lost its roof in the storm that tore through the town on the afternoon of November 6, 2017. Picture: Marina Neil
TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION: The Kurri Kurri Ambulance Hall lost its roof in the storm that tore through the town on the afternoon of November 6, 2017. Picture: Marina Neil

In less than 10 minutes it caused general chaos – lifting roofs off, knocking over trees and causing some walls to fall.

And then it was gone.

Kurri Kurri Ambulance Hall is one of the buildings affected, with the roof completely gone. Sadly, this grand old building has sat idle and exposed to the weather ever since.

This is a site owned by Crown Lands, but managed and controlled on behalf of the community by Cessnock City Council.

I spoke with council last week and they share the frustrations of us all, with the snail’s pace at which the insurer is moving to do the repairs.

What if the building was the home of the CEO of that same insurance company? The job would probably have been done before Christmas.

So, the Ambulance Hall will be repaired, but we are all left waiting for the insurance company to make it so.

Loading up on hidden intergenerational debt

It is a fact that our state now has more debt than at any time in its history.

And that’s just the debt that people will talk about.

On top of this debt that actually is on the books there is also the invisible debt that, apparently, must never be spoken of for fear that it will cause outrage across the community.

I speak of course of the asset sales from across the state.

When an asset like our Newcastle Port is sold, is the result of that (a) the thousands of millions of dollars are donated to the state with no expectation of return, or (b) that the new owner expects to get their initial money back and then many times much more money?

Anyone with a heartbeat, no matter which way you vote, would agree that the answer to the question is (b).

So, if money has been paid to the state and there is an expectation that the money has to be paid back, is this a “loan”?

Since 2011, the NSW Government has sold $50 billion worth of state-owned assets.

These assets once belonged to all of us, but now they belong to the private investors.

Not a single cent of that money has been donated or gifted to the state without an expectation that the new investors will get that money paid back, and more.

I put to you that this $50 billion is another form of borrowing money. This $50 billion is on loan.

This $50 billion will be paid back, many times over.

But you won’t see this $50 billion debt on the books.

A good question to ask is: who will pay back the money?

The answer is you and I, Joe and Jane Citizen, as well as our children and our children’s children.

We will pay more for our electricity, we will pay more for our land title details, we will pay more for our groceries, we will pay more for our road tolls; the list goes on.

If each investor only wanted their money back, with no profit, then each person in NSW is left with an $8000 debt. If they wanted two times their money back, then we would each have a $16,000 debt.

But more likely, they each want four times or more, per investment, meaning we have each been given a $32,000 debt to be paid back over the coming years.

Clayton Barr is the State MP for Cessnock

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