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Swan throws down Pac-Hwy gauntlet

Page MP Janelle Saffin, seen here overseeing work last year on the Ballina Bypass with Federal infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese, has called on the O'Farrell Government to match Federal funding.
Page MP Janelle Saffin, seen here overseeing work last year on the Ballina Bypass with Federal infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese, has called on the O'Farrell Government to match Federal funding.

PAGE MP Janelle Saffin says it's now up to the State Government to put up or shut up after Treasurer Wayne Swan announced $3.6 billion in last night's Federal Budget to complete the duplication of the Pacific Hwy by 2016.

The funding boost is predicated on the NSW Government matching the Federal funding dollar-for-dollar.

Mr Swan used his Budget speech last night to pile the pressure on Barry O'Farrell's Government over the highway funding, saying the Federal money was on offer "provided the NSW Government also contributes its half".

Ms Saffin, who, as The Northern Star reported on Saturday, also secured $60 million for the Lismore Base Hospital redevelopment and $2.5 million for St Vincent's Private Hospital, said a 50:50 arrangement for highway funding had been in place for some time.

"Under former Prime Minister John Howard, a 50:50 funding deal between Federal and State governments always applied to the highway and everyone understood this," she said.

"Now that Barry O'Farrell, Andrew Stoner and Duncan Gay are in government, they cannot be allowed to slip and slide on the numerous pledges and statements they have made, committing themselves to dollar-for-dollar funding for the highway."

The highway and hospital funding announcements for Page were contained in a Federal Budget that contained very few surprises, courtesy of a series of controlled leaks in the lead-up to last night.

Mr Swan, in handing down his fifth budget since Labor came to power in 2007, achieved - on paper at least - his promised surplus.

The modest $1.5 billion surplus for the 2012-13 financial year was achieved through "saving and redirecting $33.6 billion" over the next four years.

Mr Swan said the government was scrapping company tax cuts, in favour of an increase to Family Tax Benefit Part A payments.

Topics:  budget, janelle saffin, pacific hwy, wayne swan


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