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Editor’s Desk: The good, bad and ugly predictions for 2022

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Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
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Balancing act.
Camera Icon Balancing act. Credit: Don Lindsay/The West Australian

Most of us were happy to farewell 2021 by pouring more fuel on the flames so it burnt to the ground quicker. But what does 2022 hold for us? Will it try to rival its past two predecessors for title of worst year ever, or can we rise from the ashes with fresh hope in ‘22?

Here are 22 predictions of what this year could bring — locally, State-wide, nationally and globally. It’s a mixed bag of sure things, wishful thinking, solid predictions, guesses and dreaded fears and concerns.

I don’t have many answers, especially to the one question everyone wants to know: will 2022 finally be the year which breaks the back of this pandemic? We all hope so.

1. I’ll start with a bold prediction. An Ashes whitewash for the Aussies. The only things that will keep England from being 5-0 losers are rain delays and more COVID chaos.

2. Whether it’s February 5 or another date, WA will rejoin the world. We will tear down our borders, let COVID in and hope we can cope living with it. COVID will likely reach Geraldton and the Mid West, and most parts of WA. The Omicron wave will swamp us. Our precarious health system will be sorely tested. We will be part of this pandemic, rather than watching it from afar behind locked gates. We will need to get used to wearing masks, showing our vaccination certificate everywhere and following many other restrictions. More jobs will be lost if people don’t get jabbed. The unvaccinated should prepare for missing out on a lot in 2022. Expect it to get ugly before it gets better.

3. A given for 2022. The exploded Horizon sculpture will get replaced on the Beresford foreshore. And not a moment too soon.

4. The Federal election is looking like it will be in May. Durack MP Melissa Price looks safe. Scomo looks on shaky ground, with the Liberals in danger of losing some WA seats. But Albo still doesn’t seem prime ministerial to me. Could we see a late change in Labor leadership?

5. Amid all the promises of cash thrown our way during an election campaign, could we actually see some headway being made on getting a jetty for Geraldton? It seemed pie-in-the-sky when the grassroots campaign first started, but it’s already won the support of Melissa Price and it could be an enticing carrot for politicians to dangle in front of voters in an election year.

6. I will make no bold predictions about Oakajee, for fear of further jinxing the most jinxed parcel of land in history. But expect some announcements to progress plans to turn the Oakajee site into a renewable hydrogen hub.

7. A draft management plan was released last year, so could 2022 be the year we see some key decisions made about developing tourism sensibly out at the Abrolhos?

8. Last year’s Shore Leave was a test run, especially when it had to be delayed. So let’s hope for big things for the 2022 event and we can all witness what this event can bring to the region.

9. The Beijing Winter Olympics next month will create household names of athletes we’ve never heard of before, and we’ll spend a lot of time scratching our heads trying to understand the rules of sports like curling, skijoring and ski ballet.

10. Surely St John of God Hospital’s maternity ward will reopen, easing the burden on our public hospital and providing welcome news to local mothers.

11. Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her platinum jubilee in 2022. That’s 70 years on the throne. Well done QEII. While the world will undoubtedly celebrate this mammoth achievement, thoughts linger about how many years the Queen has left, especially after losing her husband last year. At 95, can she make it to 100 and get a letter from herself?

12. For some, 2022 will be the year they return to the skies. How much overseas travel takes off remains to be seen, but our itchy feet might finally get scratched.

13. Property prices in Geraldton will continue to rise, the experts say. Rents likely will too, but hopefully more stock becomes available, though that will depend largely on how the construction industry fares in ’22.

14. Whether they are good, bad or otherwise the movies that will be up there for the most talked about and watched of 2022 include The Batman, Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar 2, Legally Blonde 3. Sense a “long-awaited sequel” theme here? For what it’s worth, my pick for the Best Picture Oscar is Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. There will continue to be endless content to stream, including a new Kardashians show, a second season of Bridgerton and new seasons of Stranger Things and The Crown.

15. With fires, floods and cyclones last year, it was never more apparent how unpredictable Mother Nature is. Who knows what she will throw at us in 2022? But we should all be prepared, even for the unexpected.

16. I fear the Eagles and Dockers need everything to go right for them to be any chance in season ’22. The most likely scenario for both WA teams is a middle-of-the-road outcome. I hope I’m wrong, especially about my Eagles.

17. Expect Geraldton young gun Jed Hagan to be snapped up high in the AFL Draft after being on the radar for a number of years already and finally being eligible. And fingers crossed fellow Geraldton boy Judd McVee has a good first year with AFL premiers, Melbourne. Is a game in his first year too much to wish for?

18. With the borders coming down, hopefully that brings with it an influx of workers to help out our struggling hospitality, agricultural and construction industries.

19. And hopefully with more workers available, we might start to see some changes to some of the city’s biggest eyesores, namely the derelict Batavia Motor Inne and bulldozed site of the Old Victoria Hotel, both of which now have new owners. And I expect, despite the initial outcry, the Fitzgerald Street mircrobrewery will be a success and a welcome new kind of venue to town when it opens this year.

20. We haven’t heard much news from the Government lately about the heavy haulage bypass road. That could all change in 2022. But don’t expect the controversy about it to stop.

21. With 2022 looking like Josh Kennedy’s last year at West Coast, is it too much to hope for that after he hangs up his AFL boots, he will return home to the Mid West and perhaps play again for the Northampton Rams, like Harry Taylor did last year?

22. Whether or not there will be a court resolution in 2022 to 2021’s biggest story— the alleged abduction of Carnarvon girl Cleo Smith — remains to be seen, but what is clear is that no child deserves a bigger or better fifth birthday than the one that is undoubtedly coming Cleo’s way this year.

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