“I can feel a dam coming on,” the legendary Bert Kelly used to say. But why stop at a dam?

It doesn’t matter that the Royal Hobart Hospital can’t find the staff it needs. The Mersey Hospital is in a government-held marginal, Braddon. So it’s roll-out-the pork-barrel time.

But why stop at Braddon? Why stop at hospitals? There are other seats where the government will want to push the persuasive power of pork.

Braddon is held by the government by 1.1%. There are many similar seats. You can read all about them in The Crikey Guide to the 2007 Federal Election.

It won’t be long before residents, battling candidates and flagrant opportunists in other marginals around the country jump on the bangwagon and spruik their pet projects in the hope of federal funding.

Do you live in that sort of seat? We’d love to hear from you about not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you. Send your plea for pork to [email protected] with “pork me” in the subject field and we’ll pass on your wish list items to the Prime Minister’s office.

Watch these electorates in the coming weeks and months:

An outer suburban electorate that takes in the far western end of Sydney – Penrith, Emu Plains, Cranebrook, St Marys, Werrington, Kingswood, Glenmore Park and Mulgoa. It’s classic mortgage belt territory that has also assumed a special significance for the Liberal Party as the home of the “Howard Battlers”.
Median weekly family income: $1,074 (37th highest electorate)*
Persons aged 65 and over: 7.7% (135th highest)

Pork Potential: According to locals, Long Jetty at Port Welshpool is a top pork barrelling possibility. The longest jetty in the southern hemisphere, it used to be a commercial shipping jetty but has fallen into disrepair. An aesthetic drawcard in the Wilson’s Promontory area, it’s still used sneakily by locals for recreational fishing – though it’s in no state for this. A commercial operator has been lobbying the state government to enter into a joint venture to restore the jetty for commercial and recreational use. This hasn’t happened. The area is a top spot for tourism but much of its infrastructure, like the jetty, is seriously run-down. An injection of funds would give the area a much-needed boost, and could help offset the effects of drought.

A varied semi-urban/provincial seat that includes the south coast of New South Wales, from Moruya through Narooma, Bega and Merimbula to Eden and the Victorian border and then heads inland to Bombala, Cooma, Braidwood and Queanbeyan.
Persons employed in tourism: 9.5% (3rd highest)
Median weekly family income: $805 (115th highest)

Pork Potential: Without a dialysis machine in the region, patients from Cooma and surrounding areas have been travelling four hours to Canberra Hospital each time they require treatment, often three times a week. Providing the region with the proper equipment and training for hospital staff would surely win the government brownie points.

A semi-urban/provincial electorate that takes in Pakenham, on Melbourne’s south-eastern fringe, then follows the Princes Highway corridor down through Drouin and Warragul to Moe, taking in most of south Gippsland, including such towns as Wonthaggi, Korumburra, Leongatha, Mirboo North and Foster.
Median weekly family income: $775 (125th highest)
Persons engaged in agriculture: 13.1% (16th highest)

Pork Potential: Residents of Wonthaggi have been lobbying against the state government’s proposed $3.1 billion desalination plant, claiming that it will be an eyesore upon the region’s landscape and damage the local tourism industry. More cash injected into the project could see the plant moved a few kilometres inland, removing the landscape issue and would soothe the community’s largest concern.

Another semi-urban/provincial seat, taking in southern suburbs of Geelong like Belmont, Highton, Grovedale, Bellarine Peninsula towns such as Queenscliff, Portarlington and Ocean Grove), the Surf Coast centres of Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne) and rural and semi-rural areas further west, including Colac, Apollo Bay, Winchelsea, Bannockburn and Smythesdale.
Persons in professional occupations: 28.7% (46th highest)
Persons born in non English speaking countries: 5.0% (105th highest)

Pork Potential: Manufacturing industry in the Geelong region creates 50% of Geelong’s GDP, however the closure of the Ford engine plant announced recently will take 600 people out of work. Members from the Geelong Trades and Labour Council have planned a meeting with Premier John Brumby this week to propose a $24 million investment strategy, but would it be possible for the Federal Government to step in first?

Based in the middle southern suburbs of Brisbane; Chelmer, Sherwood, Yeronga, Tarragindi, Moorooka, Coopers Plains, Sunnybank, Eight Mile Plains, Runcorn, Algester and Calamvale.
Median weekly family income: $1,022 (45th highest)
Persons in professional occupations: 30.1% (39th highest)

Pork Potential: Earlier this year, Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman changed the rainwater tank rebate scheme, making it only available to rate-payers who plumbed tanks into their homes and unavailable to those who used the tanks for outdoor purposes. Since then the number of applications lodged for the rainwater tank rebate has plummeted from 100 plus per day to just one single application across the first two weeks of July. The rainwater tank market has since declined, and Brisbane residents have become increasingly confused and reluctant to pay licensed plumbers to install tanks. If the Federal government was to allocate some of its budget towards reigniting the demand for water tanks, they might find themselves winning the hearts of local climate change devotees.

A semi-urban/provincial electorate that takes in almost the whole Townsville area, as well as Palm and Magnetic Islands.
Persons aged 65 and over: 9.4% (117th highest)
Persons in government employment: 28.6% (4th highest)

Pork Potential: Townsville and Thuringowa councils face debts around $250 million, so one pork-barrelling opportunity would be for the Federal government to step in and offload some of that debt, potentially winning over a local community. Sixteen road projects across the area including safety, flood and traffic control issues estimated to cost around $2 billion were recently highlighted in a report on the region. It is believed that a large number of votes will depend on what action is taken.

An outer suburban seat in the east of Perth that reaches from Guildford, Midland and High Wycombe to the Hills district around Gooseberry Hill, Kalamunda and Lesmurdie and takes in a large part of the south-eastern corridor including Maddington, Thornleigh and Gosnells.
Persons born in the UK and Ireland: 14.2% (6th highest)
Persons born in non English speaking countries: 10.4% (72nd highest)

Pork Potential: The fatal bashing of a man outside a café in Mandurah earlier this week has reignited claims for the federal government to expand CCTV cameras across Perth. The Perth City Council currently has 140 cameras across the city but claims more are required. The Western Australian Government has recently spent $27 million on CCTV cameras in the public transport system. Could the federal government top that?

A Perth suburban seat extending eastward through the city’s middle north from North Beach and Scarborough on the coast through Carine, Innaloo, Balcatta and Tuart Hill to Mirrabooka, Nollamara and Yokine.
Median weekly family income: $760 (126th highest)
Persons born in non English speaking countries: 3.8% (132nd highest)

Pork Potential: “A classic” and obvious pork barrelling exercise was a highlight of the past week in Stirling, according to one local. Even if the plan fell flat. Local Liberal member Michael Keenan managed to get $10 million from the Federal government for the Reid Highway overpass. But this project is way down the list for the state government’s black spot prevention program — so the state Labor government rejected the plan. The number one project is 2-3 km away — ie. on the border of the electorate. The government seems only willing to join the state government’s $14 million with its $10 million injection if the project is the one in the middle of the electorate.

Starts in the outer northern suburbs of Adelaide in the Salisbury/Elizabeth area then stretches north through the rural towns of Kapunda, Freeling and Balaklava and the Clare Valley wine area.
Persons employed in manufacturing: 21.2% (8th highest)
Persons born in the UK and Ireland: 14.3% (4th highest)

Pork Potential: Is one intervention enough? The Modbury Hospital in Elizabeth will have its maternity and pediatrics departments closed down within six months despite appeals to the State Health Minister. Locals are concerned that the closure of two departments will result in the closure of the entire hospital. The closure of the after hours emergency service at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has also alarmed residents. The move comes as part of a health reform scheme which proposes a new 800 bed hospital to replace the Royal Adelaide Hospital by 2016, but for some that is too far away to soothe their fears.

An outer suburban electorate in Adelaide’s south west that stretches from O’Halloran Hill in the north through suburbs such as Hallett Cove, Morphett Vale, Reynella, Christies Beach, Hackham and Seaford down to the coast south at Sellicks Beach and takes in the semi-rural areas around the wine centre of McLaren Vale and Willunga.
Persons born in non English speaking countries: 6.6% (91st highest)
Median weekly family income: $827 (107th highest)

Pork Potential: The Noarlunga Hospital in Adelaide has been name-dropped as another hospital that could do with a Howard Government cash injection. In March the hospital was forced to cut back five beds for mental health patients after the resignation of one of its psychiatrists. In May, a 22-year-old man who suffered from a psychotic episode was turned away from the hospital due to the lack of resources. A month later he was arrested for stabbing a police officer and now faces serious criminal charges. Throwing some funding in the direction of Noarlunga is a perfect pork-barrelling opportunity.

A semi-rural/provincial seat based centred on Launceston that includes the towns of George Town, Bridport, Scottsdale and Lilydale and takes in Flinders Island.
Median weekly family income: $760 (126th highest)
Persons born in non English speaking countries: 3.8% (132nd highest)

Pork Potential: A comparatively cheap pork-barrelling possibility lies with the $2 billion proposed Gunns pulp mill in northern Tasmania. Fears of the project creating a congested East Tamar highway have led to a request by the George Town Council for an $8 million traffic interchange to be built to separate the tourist and local traffic from the heavy log trucks entering the Bell Bay site.

A semi-urban/provincial electorate that takes in the city and suburbs of Darwin and the satellite town of Palmerston.
Median weekly family income: $1,181 (23rd highest)
Persons aged 65 and over: 5.2% (149th highest)

Pork Potential: Requests for a light rail service between Darwin and Palmerston have recently been initiated by the NT Local Government Association as a way of sustaining public transport in the area. Concerns for carbon emissions, fuel prices and traffic jams give rise to the calls, however no suggestion as to the cost has been given.

*Additional demographic information from Psephos