State Budget: the good, bad and mostly ugly
17th November 2020
State Budget: good, bad but mostly ugly
Budget comment from Greg Piper:
While this year’s State Budget reflects a solid response to the economic challenges caused by the Covid pandemic, it’s extremely disappointing that the Government and its agencies continue to ignore major projects and needs in the Lake Macquarie electorate.
Yet again we’ve seen $3.47m allocated towards the upgrade of Hillsborough Road. This is the same money and the same planning we’ve seen thrown around in every budget for the past five years, but nothing actually gets done.
Three years ago, the Transport Minister told us the long-awaited masterplan for Hillsborough Road would be released by Christmas. That was three Christmases ago.
What is the Newcastle regional office of Transport for NSW actually doing? Every year that goes by, this project gets more expensive and seemingly no closer.
Problems on Hillsborough Road are getting worse and it’s much the same on Lake Road at Speers Point, on Macquarie Road at Cardiff, on Dora Street at Morisset. When are they going to actually do something instead of re-announcing the same funding every year that either gets spent on more studies, or not spent at all?
The much needed Fassifern-Hexham freight rail corridor has been treated similarly with today’s budget allocating another $13.3m for ‘planning’. This is largely the money announced in previous budgets which hasn’t been spent.
Today’s Budget papers also show funding for three jetties in Lake Macquarie. While a welcome investment, they were not only funded in last year’s budget but have already been built. The budget also shows the final instalments on the major upgrades of Wangi and Speers Point schools. Again, these fantastic projects were fully funded and finished last financial year.
The State Government and in particular Transport for NSW has dropped the ball once again with some very important projects being overlooked, and failing to address obvious road safety needs and growing congestion.
Certainly, the Budget contained some good news. It was good to see the final $13.5m allocated to the Wyee sewer connection project. There was also some much-needed funds
for social housing, but it’s nowhere near enough. I’ve had elderly constituents falling through
the rotted kitchen floors of their homes that don’t get fixed, all while waiting lists continue to grow.
While the State is throwing around billions on Sydney infrastructure projects and recording a $16-billion deficit over the next 12 months, ballooning to $107-billion in 2024, Lake Macquarie residents have every right to be disappointed.
Key highlights for the Lake Macquarie Electorate
- $3.47m for the planned upgrade of Hillsborough Road (reannounced)
- $13.5m towards finishing the Wyee Sewer Connection project (previously committed)
- $1.45m for Aboriginal housing at Toronto
- $1.88m for upgrades and improvements to social housing
- $300,000 for the ongoing management of the former Pasminco site at Boolaroo
- $13.33m for planning of the Fassifern-Hexham freight rail corridor (reannounced)
- $2.67m for stormwater works on Munibung Creek
- $2.13m to upgrade wastewater treatment plants at Toronto and Warners Bay
- Aged pensioners in Lake Macquarie eligible for the $250 Seniors Transport Card
Key highlights for the Lower Hunter Region
- $2.5m available for jetty projects
- $20m towards Newcastle Inner City Bypass
- $21m towards further planning of the M1’s ‘missing link’ at Raymond Terrace
- $500m available for fixing bridges in regional areas
- $312m funding pie to repair local roads
- $16m towards the $780m expansion of John Hunter Hospital
- $220m towards work on the new Maitland Hospital