Governments of the past few decades seem to have forgotten their calling: “Take care of the people and protect them.” Instead, the securing of growing international economies of scale appear to be uppermost in the mind of our politicians. While the brass ring is being chased by our leaders, they seem to be fearfully out of touch with the people. I give two illustrations.

We now possess, with gratitude, a partial pension from the federal government. We don’t deserve it; we earned it!” So, we said, let us take the busses when we can. Good idea, we said. It is a good green option, we said. We flashed our pensioner’s cards and took the bus from the Train Shed Museum to Woolies at Mowbray. The bus lowered obediently before us when we got in and when we exited. The bus driver was a nice and polite man. The charge, for a couple of oldies was $3.40…for two kilometres!

Our auto would have been cheaper…so much for the busses. We would walk if arthritis did not make that impossible. Besides, the Hawks football team needs 30 million dollars and the horse ‘industry’ needs at least 100 million. Let us eat cake.

Secondly, we have also learned another trick about deteriorating infrastructure. We live at the top of the Finger Post Hill and at the very bottom is a small wooden bridge which has been the site of many accidents, many floodings and at least one traffic death of which we know. The bridge is on a slight curve and treacherous. The scars of the years give it an ominous look. Trucks thunder around the slight turn and one quickly prays that the logs will not slip off, the truck tail will not fish nor the pine boards collapse on top of the car. It has not happened yet.

But Lo! I have discovered something all Tasmanian drivers should know: I look as far up the Finger Post as I can and…pull over and stop if there is a truck coming. Simple! I am guaranteed another safe passage…at least until I get to the blind corner about a kilometre ahead. Who says we cannot live bravely in this new world?

The trouble is; I think the infrastructure of Tasmania is deteriorating faster than I am! With luck I may have fifteen more years…I doubt if Tasmania’s infrastructure does.

Buck Emberg

AS WE wait for the second and perhaps the third shoe to fall while the proposed pulp mill waits for final decisions, life goes on. The infrastructure of Tasmania and the needs of Tasmanians continue to age. Some things never change.