Sausage sizzle shutdown leaves a bad taste

A SAUSAGE sandwich on the sidelines of a junior footy match has long been one of life’s simple pleasures.

And the sausage sizzle [or bacon and egg roll] economy has long been the key to the financial survival of many local sporting, schools and community groups.

So it’s no wonder groups that make use of Bathurst Sportsground reacted badly when they received a letter from Bathurst Regional Council saying they were no longer allowed to roll out a barbecue to cook a few snags to help feed the fans and fatten their own coffers.

The letter, sent to sporting, community and school groups in recent weeks, said the sportsground canteen was only equipped for the sale of pre-packaged foods and that they were no longer permitted to cook food on a barbecue on the canteen’s concrete verandah.

Further, council warned that health inspectors would be making regular checks of the sportsground during sporting and school events – and would be writing fines if groups were found to be in breach of the rules.

That’s just the sort of bureaucratic red tape guaranteed to anger the community and no-one should celebrate regulations that just make it harder for small community groups to raise a few dollars.

But the anger in this instance should not be directed at council for enforcing the rules but, rather, at a society that has made such regulations necessary.

Just how many sausage-related health complaints have been reported in the decades that sausage sizzles have been a staple at local sporting events?

Precious few, we would suggest, but the mere chance that there could be a problem – combined with the real likelihood that someone might seek financial recompense if there was a problem – means that council has little choice but to act.

Even if those actions seem ridiculous to the rest of us.

The bad news is, things are only going to get worse in this country for as long as Australia continues to follow the USA down its litigious path.

As long as we continue to foster a society that is constantly looking to blame, we’re going to find more and more red tape rolled out by ultra-cautious bureaucrats seeking to eliminate risk.

It’s the world we’ve created, but it’s a world few of us ever wanted.