It’s fine to talk, but when you don’t follow it up with actions then talk is cheap.
The above words were voiced by Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy during a visit to Wodonga on Wednesday.
The Victorian Opposition leader was characterising his rival, the Wangaratta-raised premier Daniel Andrews, but the sentiment can apply equally to many politicians.
By virtue of being on the Murray River, Border residents have heard countless Victorian, NSW and federal MPs indulge in boosterism when the reality has not matched the hype.
Solving anomalies between the states is a perennial example, with a parade of politicians and bureaucrats having talked about cutting red tape over a long period.
The NSW Cross Border Commissioner visited Albury this week and talked up an increase in consciousness of cross jurisdictional impacts among Sydney lawmakers and bureaucrats.
The evidence of that remains to be clearly seen, but it is vital he and his Victorian counterpart the Red Tape Commissioner do more than talk and show some practical results.
The same scenario applies to Mr Guy himself.
Fresh from a tour of Wodonga’s Mars Petcare factory on Wednesday, Mr Guy stressed the need for more investment outside Melbourne and the importance of “branding” regions to foster growth.
Nobody in the area would argue against such views, particularly when the Victorian Labor Government of Mr Andrews has been pumping funds into major infrastructure in Melbourne such as an underground railway.
To put some flesh on the bones of his decentralisation and population policy, Mr Guy’s taskforce tackling the policy will stage a forum in Wodonga next year.
This promises to give the opportunity to those who care about the Border’s prosperity to push their ideas and hopefully those that are worthy taken up by powerbrokers.
The chairman of the taskforce, the Liberal member for Kew Tim Smith, says Mars Petcare plans to make a submission.
This should be a signal for others to air their concerns and thinking, as Wodonga’s state representative Bill Tilley says “nobody has a monopoly on good ideas”.
Of course whether the findings of the taskforce come to fruition face the major hurdle of Mr Guy being elected premier.
If that comes to pass we will find out how valuable Mr Guy’s talk proves to be.