HAVING a big bag of money doesn’t always produce results as the NSW Government is finding out. The new Berejiklian-Barilaro government, supposedly not a coalition but a Nats-Liberal grouping, is awash with funds, ripe for pork-barrelling.
It faces a critical test of its credentials in by-elections this weekend.
The government is slowly feeding out its big regional fund, but one wonders if it will be enough to save its political skins.
For electors, being heard, feeling involved is often more important than the splashing of money everywhere.
Minor parties have been sniping at the big parties’ feet in Australia for the last four decades.
It’s made the role of governing tricky and difficult, especially at a federal level. Promises can’t always be met, but must be negotiated.
At a NSW level, the conservative parties enjoy a considerable election margin - the best in Australia.
But making the big decisions still seems difficult and there is lingering resentment in the electorate, a feeling jobs for the boys or girls still goes on in government, and local voices get sidelined.
It was good to see Gladys Berejiklian sitting down and listening to the new mayor of Hilltops Council about his concerns that rural councils were shortchanged on merger funds.
The Premier seems level-headed and approachable.
But it was difficult to hear many letters from councils sent to her government on local government issues had gone unanswered.
NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro has spent many months touring regional NSW listening and urging his National MPs to take heed of local concerns.
But is the Government listening?
The Land understands Mr Barilaro was constantly told access to water was the biggest concern for the rural constituency.
He should take heed and do something tangible.
But the reality is bureaucracy still reigns in NSW, often seen by the fact overseas investors sometimes head straight to New Zealand where there is less red tape.
Politics is the art of the possible.
But the Coalition has a huge chance to make a difference.
At the end of the day, the minor parties will always be minor.
The big parties need to make the changes.
But perhaps change is in the wings.
Voters in rural areas are sick of city pen pushers telling them what to do and behave - from not having bullbars to making councils merge.
The government has to make sure it is not beholden to pen pushers and listens to its constituency.