Call it what you want — a bugbear, a chip on our shoulder, a sore point, a cliche, or a valid argument. A constant complaint coming from country folk is how they feel they are treated poorly and lesser than to their city counterparts by the people in power. Yes, it’s annoying when people say “Perth” when they should be referring to the entire State. Or when people in Perth have no idea about distances and think a trip between Geraldton and Carnarvon is a quick drive up the road. But it really irritates and makes the blood boil when regional WA is forced to put up with a second-class delivery of basic services. But time and time again, we grit our teeth and bare it, carrying on with life despite the obvious imbalance at play, accepting our “poor cousin” role. But sometimes we need to rock the boat. The consistent delays to the redevelopment of Geraldton Health Campus has literally turned into a running joke, but it’s no joke to the people in Geraldton and the Mid West who would hugely benefit from an improved hospital in our region. What about the fact the State and Commonwealth governments can’t get on the same page about delivering a basic cancer treatment service in Geraldton, with funding disputes over a promised radiation oncology facility? Don’t even get me started by what people further afield have to deal with in more remote areas. And this week, another case in point when Qantas delivered a hammer blow, announcing its reduced schedule of flights to and from Geraldton would continue to March next year. This was after the airline virtually slashed Geraldton flight numbers in half last June, and promised it would return to normal this month. Qantas has rightly appalled many in the community as it’s obvious their Geraldton flight schedule is nowhere near the top of their priority list. We should look at all our options in the wake of this slap in the face, including local leaders encouraging and incentivising other airlines to consider adding Geraldton to their routes. Competition could be a circuit-breaker, but it’s far from a certainty at this stage. Yes, people can still catch flights to and from Perth. And there’s always that lovely 4½-hour drive. But having a decent number of flights is essential to our economy, and not only for tourism, but for our business connections and medical services. There are many people who come to Geraldton to work for just the day. They want to hop on an early morning flight, spend the day in Geraldton and then catch the late afternoon or evening flight back to Perth. This isn’t possible most days (Qantas is reintroducing dual return flights on Mondays and Fridays, but the other days will continue to have a single middle-of-the-day return flight). That means some people don’t bother coming, affecting our business relations and access to medical specialists. There’s always that age-old worn argument of going to Perth for your appointments and treatments. But why should we have to all the time divert to going to Perth for things that should be offered in the comfort and convenience of our own hometown. This is just not good enough. We are not the poorer cousins to anyone. In this day and age, we live in a thriving regional city and the powers that be should be treating us better.