WE should never underestimate the value of political incumbency.
Yes, there is a lot to like about the idea of the "all care, no responsibility" attitude that opposition MPs can often adopt - and it's true that being in a position to make decisions on issues such as the future of greyhound racing or council amalgamations can win you more enemies than friends - but when it comes time to deliver for your electorate nothing can compare with direct access to the decision makers and bean counters.
And Bathurst MP Paul Toole has made more out of his incumbency than most
He was at it again on Tuesday as he announced a second daily rail service to Sydney would be up and running for Bathurst commuters some time next year.
Mr Toole stressed the announcement was not dependent on an election result because, he said, the work to find the carriages and the drivers had already begun.
And while a looming election might have played its part in the timing of the announcement, that will be the last thing on the minds of commuters when they use the Bathurst Bullet #2 for the first time. Instead, they will simply be happy that the local MP has delivered another service for the region.
But Mr Toole could not have made Tuesday's announcement if there was a Labor Government in power.
No opposition MP is currently calling press conferences to make grand announcements because the money is simply not being handed to them.
It's the reality of political pragmatism and was always the unspoken way of the world - until recently.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian changed the conversation in Orange a fortnight ago when she made a pledge for a new $25 million sports directly dependent on a Coalition MP being elected to replace the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party's Phil Donato.
There was no fudging of terms, no confusion of language - it was a straight out threat to the voters of Orange.
Of course, had they already had a Nationals MP in parliament, the $25 million pledge would have been signed, sealed and delivered before a single vote was cast.
But we can't be too harsh on the government - both sides of politics are as bad as the other when it comes to wringing out every last advantage while in power.
It can be a dirty game, politics, and it's a game that's being played with our money.