Massive debt, rising unemployment, no construction on the Pacific Highway in the Northern Rivers and confirmation of local hospital staffing cuts are the sad hallmarks of yet another city-focused State Budget, according to Clarence Nationals MP Steve Cansdell.

“Labor admits it will be $50 billion in the red by 2012 with skyrocketing unemployment, but the North Coast has next to nothing to show for it,” Mr Cansdell said after sitting through the NSW Labor Treasurer Eric Roozendaal’s Budget on Tuesday.

“Labor is handing each and every New South Wales adult taxpayer a debt of $10,000.

“Despite the weekend Pacific Highway collapse near Maclean, there is nothing in the Budget for construction work on the Pacific Highway on the North Coast.

“In his speech, the Treasurer actually claimed the recent Garling Report endorsed the Government’s management of New South Wales hospitals, so it is no surprise Labor is ploughing ahead with its massive staffing cuts to North Coast hospitals.

“Although there is more than $3 billion allocated for rail infrastructure, not one cent of that money will go towards reopening the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line Labor axed five years ago.”

Mr Cansdell said the Clarence and Richmond Valley councils and community groups would have to compete for a tiny pool of just $400,000 for the Government’s new Community Building Partnership fund.

“Any money for the region is welcome, but this is little more than a drop in the ocean,” Mr Cansdell said.

Further information along with funding application forms are available from Mr Cansdell’s office, tel 6643 1244 or email clarence@parliament.nsw.gov.au