$12m for Tweed Hospital ‘just first payment’
TWO major local projects - Tweed Hospital's upgrade and the new Tweed police headquarters - were each allocated $12 million in Tuesday's State Budget.
The figure was revealed in the 2016/17 Budget papers delivered by NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian.
The Tweed Hospital figure raised eyebrows among medicos campaigning for the facility's upgrade because it fell short of the $48 million promised by the Coalition for Stage One of the redevelopment.
But Tweed MP Geoff Provest said it was just the first of several annual payments.
"There is no problem with the funding," Mr Provest said.
"They don't just lumber all the money in your bank account for the next four years, they give it to you in 12-month supplements, which is standard government procedure," he said.
"We are working on finding the other $90-odd million at the moment and (Health Minister Jillian Skinner) made that commitment to the doctors that the cranes and the workmen won't go, we'll get the money."
Hospital medicos have been campaigning strongly for Federal funds in recent weeks after it was revealed costs for Stage One of the upgrade had blown out by about $100 million.
Construction of the new police headquarters on Wharf St, Tweed Heads has already begun.
Surfing Australia's High Performance Centre at Casuarina was also a budget beneficiary with the facility set to receive $3 million this financial year, cementing the Tweed as the surfing capital of the North Coast.
Funding was also allocated to upgrade local roads, including Clothiers Creek Rd and the Tweed Valley Way exit to Tumbulgum, and for better footpaths in Tweed Heads and Banora Point.
Councils across the state were struggling to maintain their roads, but the Baird Government had largely maintained road funding to local government in real terms with its latest budget, delivering overall a slight $10.7 million boost to the Fixing Country Roads Program, Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said.
School maintenance funding has been doubled across the state.
Nationals Member for Lismore Thomas George, whose electorate includes Murwillumbah, said he was pleased with the Budget, which delivered a $3.4 billion surplus in 2015/16 with a $3.7 billion surplus forecast for 2016/17.
He said the Budget included more than $75m for Lismore Base Hospital as well as $6.848m to Lismore, Tweed, Tenterfield and Kyogle councils for road maintenance.
But Opposition leader Luke Foley said the Budget failed to invest adequately in schools and hospitals.
"The story of today's budget is: Gladys the Grinch," Mr Foley said on Tuesday.
"She's hoarding the proceeds of a property boom rather than investing in the schools and hospitals that our growing population so desperately needs," he said.
"At a time when rivers of gold (are) flowing into the state's coffers from a property boom, pupils, parents and patients should be the winners in today's budget - but they're not.
"This budget spends more money on housing prisoners than making it affordable for nurses, teachers, and paramedics to buy a home in Sydney. It never gets as good as this in terms of property taxes - let's invest in schools and hospitals."