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the parable of the prodigal premier

BUDGET 2022-23

By Dr Michael Holland, Member for Bega.

The New South Wales Government appears to have had an epiphany on the road to the next NSW general election.

After 12 years in government, it appears to have seen the error of its ways and is seeking redemption.

It comes from a Premier who has stated, “Government is the only organisation that measures its success in the size of the spending rather than the outcome.”

This Government has now presented a budget deficit which has tripled to $11.3 billion.

It is a Government which has increased the State’s net debt by $10 billion per year for the past 12 years.

It is estimated to reach more than $160 billion, a burden on generations to come.

The interest alone could more than finance the budget for TAFE.

Now, when I entered Parliament I was told that when you read a Bill, look at how it will affect your electorate.

I am happy to credit good policy and gratefully accept Government funding which gives results through implementation.

Where will our money go?

Let’s hope that the billions of dollars will fill the vacancies from resignations of nurses, midwives and doctors.

Let’s hope that it will finally result in a level 4 Intensive Care Unit at the South East Regional Hospital, Bega some 6 years after opening.

Let’s hope that the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital will be opened with level 4 Intensive Care services.

And I hope that with $8 million of Federal Labor funding, that we will finally get radiation oncology services for the Bega electorate.

The NSW Budget 2022-23 has a lot of re-gifting.

The 2021-22 allocation of $7,100,000 to the Moruya High School upgrade has had an estimated expenditure to 30/6/22 of $1,000,000 leaving a 2022-23 allocation of $6,700,000. No work started and some $2,000,000 in the ether.

Re-announcements of 2021-22 Budget allocations include the Mogo Adventure Trails Hub, Eurobodalla Airport Taxiway Extension, Eurobodalla Southern Water Storage and the Moruya High School again!

You have to love creative accounting.

The Bega electorate also shares in the Multi-electorate Restart NSW Fund commitments for the New Intercity Rail Fleet!

We must thank the NSW Government for $61,593,000 in Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Grants that will have some genuine impact on the affected communities of the Bega electorate.

What is lacking is genuine relief for the homelessness in the Bega electorate and something more than the continued construction of the South Batemans Bay Link Road.

In summary Bega electorate Capital Projects, Operating Projects, Maintenance, Schemes & Subsidies 2021-22 $137,548,000 versus 2022-23 $69,984,000.

Where has the money gone?

It certainly hasn’t drifted south!