NSW Liberal Nationals play catch up in latest budget
You can tell a State election is not far away, the Government is starting to throw money a region that they’ve spent years ignoring at the expense of the city.
In January 2017, the Deputy Premier and National Party Leader, John Barilaro stated, "I want to make it absolutely clear to the incoming leader of the NSW Liberals…that the NSW Nationals no longer will be taken for granted. Today I draw the line in the sand that the NSW Nationals won't just accept the crumbs from the Liberal party table."
Our local member, Andrew Constance sits at that Liberal Party table.
Mr Barilaro also demanded at the time that the Government deliver on the commitment of 30 per cent of funding being spent in regional areas. When he made his comments the spend was only at 10 per cent to country NSW. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-20/nationals-leader-john-barilaro-issues-ultimatum-to-liberals/8197546
Then Last year, the regions received less than half (14 per cent) of what they promised. This was a loss to us of more than $700 million. This still looks like crumbs from the Liberal party table to me. A 30% promise is a commitment that should be kept.
After nearly 8 years of waiting for so much of the funding desperately needed for a range of projects in this electorate, the latest announcements from Andrew Constance and John Barilaro looks like a case of playing catch up.
There is a lot more to this latest NSW Budget than meets the eye. We are told of all these “new” promises to the region. What the Government is not saying is that many of these are re-announcements of projects such as the Batemans Bay bridge or the wave attenuator in Eden, both of which were committed to years ago.
The Government is also not talking about the losers in the budget.
We are not hearing about the funding cut of $33 million to Destination NSW. Tourism is a significant driver of jobs in this region and we cannot afford to lose that investment.
We are also not hearing about the funding for NSW councils via grants and subsidies that will be reduced by about $32 million in 2018-19. The issue here is that some of the state government promises such as the Tathra to Bega and the Merimbula pathway projects, require Council staff to deliver the commitments. If money is taken away from them how do they meet the ever-growing needs of the community. It is a case of giving with one hand and taking from the other.
And, less than 15 per cent of the total government expenditure on roads is going to country NSW. There was no commitment in the budget for any new works on the Princes Hwy south of Batemans Bay.
Mr Constance, why are we still getting the crumbs of the Liberal party table? Where is our 30%? Leanne Atkinson is Labor's candidate for Bega