Stop the exodus to NSW – just move the border

Ian Bushnell 9 October 2020 84

Googong, the township that should be in Canberra. Photo: Geoff Comfort.

Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe is right. Googong should be ours.

Hell, why not Queanbeyan too, for that matter?

Mr Coe believes the ACT is short about $400 million because of a line on a map nobody takes any notice of.

Those 7,000 Googonians – see they don’t even call themselves New South Welshmen, and women – should be paying their rates into ACT coffers.

It would mean a bigger pie and bigger slice for everybody.

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr would call it pie-in-the-sky economics but he’s just miffed that Mr Coe has stated the obvious about the border bleeding us dry.

All the marketing for Googong always says it’s only 16 km from Parliament House, most of them cross the border to work, if somebody breaks a leg it’s off to Canberra Hospital, and while schools are being built, you can bet your old school tie quite a few are doing their learning at Canberra’s finest.

Then there is Queanbeyan, even Murrumbateman, Yass and Bungendore.

They’re all sucking the juice out of the big lime green capital.

The solution is obvious.

Just as Rome pulled its satellites into orbit and absorbed them, much to the delight of citizens yearning for order and baths, Canberra should reach out to our neighbours and start applying the pressure.

Emissaries should be sent off to Sydney, or at least a Zoom meeting arranged, to open border negotiations with NSW. Gladys has got a lot on her plate at the moment so it’s the perfect time to make the approach, and Barra is on leave.

She could solve several problems at once by ceding Queanbeyan at least to the ACT, and why not throw in the rest just to sweeten the deal?

In any case, the NSW Government doesn’t care much about anyone outside of Sydney.

And the Feds? Well, Mr Coe, Alistair, says Scomo has his back on this, so moving the line a little further east and north shouldn’t be an issue.

Think of the rivers of gold flowing into the ACT Revenue Office, the rates rebates hitting your bank account, and struggle town being rebadged ‘Howard’.

Then the residents could be fondly called ‘Howard’s battlers’. In a very equitable, non-discriminatory, inclusive kind of way.

They can’t wait to be part of the most progressive patch of dirt in the country and take a celebratory spin around the rainbow roundabout.

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All a bit fanciful?

Well, ask yourself this: where did the Canberra Raiders start? Queanbeyan!

Where are the best vineyards? Over there. But who drinks their wine? We do!

What will make the trip to the coast shorter? Moving the border!

Bring it in Q, and the rest. Get with the strength.

Alistair will welcome you with open arms … and a tree.

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84 Responses to Stop the exodus to NSW – just move the border
Andy Chulo Andy Chulo 12:57 am 25 Jan 21

There is one thing you have totally missed the mark on. One of the biggest appeals of moving to Googong was getting out of the grips of the horrifically mismanaged ACT Government, and I say this as a life long Labor voter, including in ACT elections. Sorry, but no, we DON’T want to be part of the ACT. Oh, and we are happy with Queanbeyan hospital, and the local NSW schools too.

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 2:37 pm 16 Oct 20

The other serious alternative is for the Commonwealth to keep the Parliamentary Triangle and hand the rest back to NSW. I am always reminded of this when visiting NSW country towns that are always neat and tidy and well planned and managed.

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 2:32 pm 16 Oct 20

The Liberals don’t seem to understand that if these people lived in the ACT, instead of NSW, then the ACT would have to provide their schools, police, hospitals, roads, public transport, street-sweeping, grass-cutting etc. We can’t afford these things now!

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 8:37 am 16 Oct 20

Fact check:

NSW pays the ACT to provide regional hospital services.

purplevh purplevh 6:45 pm 15 Oct 20

We live in NSW because we choose to pay our city Councillors councillor wages not politicians salaries

Joe Humphries Joe Humphries 7:32 pm 10 Oct 20

It’s all about grabbing a bigger rates base, not about how the people of those areas feel about it.

Illyria Tyers Illyria Tyers 5:14 pm 10 Oct 20

Even as satire that was a bit silly.

steve2020 steve2020 10:23 am 10 Oct 20

It’s not a good idea. It would be seen as a colonialist style invasion of New South Wales. It’s better to fix the issues that cause people to move to NSW, such as lack of house and land availability, the opening of places like Coree, Stromlo, Paddys River, Kenny, Uriarra etc. for development to facilitate land releases and development, as well as changing leasehold real estate policy to freehold, and scrapping building height restrictions.

rationalobserver rationalobserver 10:19 am 10 Oct 20

The ACT is a very inefficient converter of revenue to outcomes.
Buy adding to the ACT constituent base all you are doing is increasing the overall deficit.
Abolish the ACT Government, and grow the National Capital Authority.

    I am a Rabbit™ I am a Rabbit™ 2:16 pm 10 Oct 20

    I think the rest of the nation might have something to say about that. They already fund most of the jobs here through their taxes – the least people could expect is that Canberrans pay their own way for local administration rather than expect national taxpayers to pick up that bill too…

    JC JC 8:09 am 11 Oct 20

    True but most of that stems from economies of scale which would be minimised if the population base were to be expanded.

    The other option which I’ve suggested elsewhere is get rid of all states and territories and move some state functions to larger councils and move some state functions (hospitals, emergency services, schools in particular) to the federal government.

Andy Pando Andy Pando 8:10 am 10 Oct 20

It's a good idea in the long term, particularly for services- it's nuts to have 2 different school and health systems. Policing and local govt. would be improved and the ACT could become a state.

Wade Bermingham Wade Bermingham 10:46 pm 09 Oct 20

This bit is too expensive so people leave so lets take that bit and add it to the too expensive bit 👍

Kylah Dkka Kylah Dkka 10:45 pm 09 Oct 20

We moved to NSW for a reason. No desire to become part of the Republic of the ACT.

John Brinsmead John Brinsmead 8:47 pm 09 Oct 20

annexing quangers, yass and Goulburn would be a great argument for getting a town council happening for Canberra as a proper number of senators.

Peter Major Peter Major 8:37 pm 09 Oct 20

That way they could rate the businesses out of existence like in the ACT.

Ask why Canberra businesses are bailing out and setting up just over the border. Answer to escape the ALPs cash grab for commercial rates.

Stevie Smith Stevie Smith 8:18 pm 09 Oct 20

Nah they can leave qbn alone. I’d still like to actually own my land not lease it. Freehold not leasehold thanks.

Queanbeyanite Queanbeyanite 8:14 pm 09 Oct 20

No way, we’d have to help pay off the $6 billion tram network. Once they’ve run out of parks to build more shoeboxes they’ll be looking over the border. It should have been abolished in 1990 when they voted in the No Self Government Party and rolled in to NSW then. If that had happened we’d have had a railway station at the Jolimont and lots of rural hamlets all the way from Cooma to Goulburn.

    JC JC 8:15 am 11 Oct 20

    Yeah QBN wouldn’t want any more shoe boxes would it?

Roger Mungummary Roger Mungummary 7:26 pm 09 Oct 20

Struggletown was there before Canberra was

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:03 pm 09 Oct 20

The thought of Gladys arranging a lateral arabesque for Barilaro is amusing, but why the people of Queanbeyan and thereabouts would want to go from living in a marginal electorate, which Premiers and Prime Ministers can’t (completely) ignore, to federal electorates which both major parties treat with thinly veiled contempt – because of the utterly predictable voting patterns of the ACT – is beyond me.

In the longer run, the fiscal unsustainability of the ACT (which an extra 50-100k residents from NSW wouldn’t fix) is more likely to see the current governance arrangements for the ACT replaced by a city council, with the state-level functions handled by NSW. That would likely require amendment of s.125 of the Constitution to delete the provision that the seat of government “shall contain an area of not less than one hundred square miles”, but it’s hard to imagine that the 98% of Australian voters who don’t live in the ACT would have a problem with that.

    I am a Rabbit™ I am a Rabbit™ 2:20 pm 10 Oct 20

    The rest of the nation would absolutely have issues with the capital and seat of power being in New South Wales borders. It would be a massive boost for groups in Queensland and Western Australia who want to secede from the Commonwealth. The Federal Government would never allow the concept to even be voiced.

Tim Slarke Tim Slarke 6:27 pm 09 Oct 20

Good thought. The ACT should invade Quangers and annex it.

David Ramone Watson David Ramone Watson 6:14 pm 09 Oct 20

Why don’t we abolish state and territories and just have 2 layers of government. 3 levels for 25 million people seems silly

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