Shadow Minister for the Hunter, Kate Washington MP, has labelled today’s state budget another sad demonstration of the Berejiklian Government’s poor priorities.
Despite being Australia’s largest regional economy, the government has once again failed to provide the resources needed to unlock the potential of the Hunter.
After promising $70 million in 2015 to fully duplicate Nelson Bay Road by 2019, only $200,000 was spent in three years. Today’s budget was the last chance for the government to deliver on its commitment, but only 12% of the promised funds have been included – and only for the upgrade of a single roundabout.
Other critical road and infrastructure projects received no construction funding at all, including the Lake Macquarie Interchange, the M1 to Raymond Terrace Extension, and Hillsborough Road.
Only $23 million was allocated to the construction of the new Lower Hunter Hospital in Maitland which has a proposed delivery date of 2024, more than a decade after it was promised.
After years of neglect and savage cuts to social services and community infrastructure, Premier Berejiklian has attempted to repair the government’s electoral prospects by repackaging and recycling project they announced as long ago as 2014.
The Government has triumphantly announced preschool funding for three year-olds as their centrepiece policy to relieve cost of living pressures for working families. However, three year-olds were previously funded to attend preschools until the NSW Liberal-National government cut that funding in 2014.
In fact, roughly 83% of three year olds in NSW will not benefit from the Government’s preschool announcement because they receive their early education in long day care settings.
The Treasurer also confirmed today that the Berejiklian Government continues to be blindly committed to spending more than $2 billion rebuilding stadiums in Sydney.
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP
“Today’s state budget is another sad demonstration of the Berejiklian Government’s poor priorities.
“They have failed to invest in the critical infrastructure projects and social services our region desperately needs, and they’ve failed to deliver on the promises they made at the last election.
“This Government promised to fully duplicate Nelson Bay Road before 2019, but we’ve found out today that they’re only building a roundabout.
“There’s no money to build the Lake Macquarie Interchange, no money to build the M1 to Raymond Terrace Extension, and no money to upgrade Main Road or Hillsborough Road.
“After years of neglect, this budget fails to invest in our local schools and hospitals. Our shocking school maintenance backlog will remain, and John Hunter Hospital has received no new funds.
“This budget will do nothing to address the skyrocketing cost of living pressures facing families across the Hunter. This budget has made clear that only a Foley Labor Government will deliver for the Hunter.”
This item was distributed as a media release on Tuesday 19 June 2018.