Roads and health are the big winners for the Far North Coast in today’s New South Wales State Budget.
NSW Treasurer Michael Costa has allocated almost $128 million to Pacific Highway upgrades, $3.46 million for Ballina Hospital, $1.4 million for the Byron Bay Ambulance station and $27 million for the cancer care unit at Lismore Base Hospital.
Major allocations include:
- $110m for the Ballina bypass jointly funded with the Federal Government
- $4m for planning the Woodburn to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway upgrade
- $6m for planning the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale section of the Pacific Highway upgrade
- $7.7m for the new Ewingsdale zone substation
- $3.46m allocation in this Budget to complete the $7.8m project for the Rehabilitation Unit at Ballina District Hospital
- $950,000 for the acquisition of a new Byron Bay Hospital site at Ewingsdale
- $1.4m for the Byron Bay Ambulance Station with $480,000 allocated this year
- Ballina TAFE will be upgraded but funding in unclear at this stage.
- $27m for the regional integrated cancer care unit at Lismore Base Hospital with $12.2m allocated this year.
- $1.6m for the Bruxner Highway near Tabulam
- $700,000 for the Lismore-Coraki Road
- Construction and refurbishment at Casino Public School
However, Member for Ballina Don Page said that despite massive borrowings to fund desperately needed infrastructure improvements, the Iemma Government had once again funnelled the bulk of its funding into the metropolitan area.
“The NSW Labor Government’s Budget clearly indicates how much the State’s infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate under its poor management over 13 years,” he said.
The Budget papers reveal that Statewide $13.9 billion will be spent this year and $57.6 billion over the next four years on infrastructure.
“$20.9 billion (or 36.3%) of the total four-year spend will be obtained through borrowing,” Mr Page said.
“Despite these massive borrowings most of the money will be spent in the city, leaving regional areas without vital facilities and services such as increased police resources, improved educational facilities, health and transport services.”
“The State Government have been let off the hook by the Federal Government in regard to the Alstonville bypass, who have allocated $13.6million in this year’s Federal budget.
“The cost of the project has now blown out to $101 million, according to the State Budget Papers.
“We will see $147.1 million spent in the Ballina Electorate this year on capital works.
“However, projects such as rail services on the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line and the central hospital for Byron Shire still remain unfunded in this Budget.
“While these projects remain unfunded, the cost of implementing them increases with each passing year.
“A more detailed analysis of the Budget will reveal other minor expenditures, which I will announce in the coming weeks as information becomes available.”