Ballina MP Don Page says there are no real surprises in the NSW State Budget, with $115m being allocated by both State and Federal governments for continued work on the Ballina Bypass and $85m for planning and pre-construction of the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale section of the Pacific Highway.

“The Ballina Bypass is budgeted to cost $640m altogether and to be completed by 2012. $471m has already been spent and a further $115m will be spent this year. It’s a joint State/Federal project,” he said.

“Pre-construction for the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale upgrade will continue with an allocation of $85m in this budget. The Alstonville Bypass gets a further $24m from the Federal budget to complete construction by the end of this year.

“It was disappointing once again not to see any funds for an upgrade of Ballina Hospitals surgery unit or the proposed new Byron Shire Central Hospital (land for this hospital at Ewingsdale has already been purchased).” 

Ballina TAFE receives a further $597,000 to complete the upgrade by 2011.

“I’m pleased to see the Community Building Partnership program reinstated for another year. This means the Ballina Electorate will receive $400,000 for smaller community projects of a wide-ranging nature,” Mr Page said.

“Byron Bay Ambulance Station also received $1.35m to complete construction by next year. Lismore Regional Cancer Centre (a regional facility) has been allocated $3.25m with completion due in 2012,” he said. 

In summary the allocations for the Ballina Electorate are:

  • $115m for continuation of construction of the Ballina Bypass
  • $85m for planning and pre-construction of the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale section of the Pacific Highway
  • $1.35m for the Byron Bay Ambulance Station
  • $24m (Federally funded) for ongoing construction of the Alstonville Bypass
  • $597,000 to complete the upgrade of Ballina TAFE
  • $400,000 Community Building Partnership

“This means there will be close to $227m spent in the Ballina Electorate this year, excluding the Federal BER projects,” Mr Page said.

“While I welcome the funding that has been allocated to the Ballina Electorate, much of it is coming from the Federal Budget. The NSW State Government continues to let us down on health infrastructure in particular. Once again the Byron Shire Central Hospital and the upgrade to Ballina Hospital surgery unit were overlooked.”