'HE'S A GOOSE': Barnaby's bridge stunt scorned in parliament
A MINISTER has labelled Barnaby Joyce a "goose" over his stunt to unofficially open the new Tabulam bridge.
In parliament last night, Lismore MP Janelle Saffin rose to speak about the new $48 million bridge.
She said Mr Joyce's "so-called opening" had caused "consternation" in the local community.
"I have sought assurances from the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads on three matters ‒ first, that this event was not official; secondly, that there will be an official opening; and, thirdly, that the community will be invited to celebrate. I have received those assurances," she said.
Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall could then be heard saying: "Barnaby is a goose".
Ms Saffin said she would not repeat the words.
"I said he was a goose," Mr Marshall said.
Ms Saffin replied: "He said Barnaby is a goose. So it will be in Hansard."
She then moved on to the matter of the retention of the historically rare old Tabulam Bridge.
"In a 2011 report NSW Roads and Maritime Services noted that the Tabulam Bridge was assessed as being historically rare," she said.
"Despite that, it was then delisted from the State Heritage Register.
"It is unbelievable that it was knocked off the register without the community's views being sought and without the community being informed."
Ms Saffin went on to talk about the importance of the bridge to the local indigenous community.
"The bridge is the birthplace of many members of the local indigenous community, including Poppy Harry Mundine Walker," she said.
"He was born under the bridge and is reported to be far too emotional to talk about it.
"It is a sacred space, where many members of the local Aboriginal community were born. Mums gave birth under that majestic bridge.
"Significantly, the fight to save the bridge has united the community.
"It is emotional and a kick in the guts, but I have to say it still could be saved.
"I was told that the upkeep would cost $1 million per year but I have not seen a business case for that costing.
"I have not met a Tabulam local who does not want to save the bridge."