State budget’s a dud if you live north of Newcastle
REGIONS north of Newcastle got little love from the NSW Treasurer on Tuesday but the 2013-14 state budget did unlock some promised funding for the Pacific Hwy, local hospitals and emergency services.
While NSW Nationals leader Andrew Stoner said the latest round of funding showed regional communities were "at the heart" of the government, he appeared to have forgotten about the north coast.
Almost $9million will go into the $80million Lismore Hospital upgrade while a further $1.9million will keep the emergency department updated in the interim.
The State Government's pre-announced $928million contribution to the Pacific Hwy duplication was the region's only other big ticket item.
As promised, $220million will seal the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale works while $100million will finally get the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade started.
There was no mention of how the State Government planned to fix the region's transport woes following the shelving of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail link.
A spokesperson for NSW Transport could not say whether the region would benefit from the government's $388 million regional bus program but confirmed at least $938,000 in community transport services was earmarked for the north coast.
Major investment in the state's police force secured the funding needed to train 500 extra recruits destined for understaffed stations in Sydney's west and northern NSW.
At least 20 are expected to be sent to the Tweed/Byron and Coffs/Clarence LAC's.
The Ballina fire station will share in $12.5million in refurbishment funding in the coming year while a $7.4million loan was secured to begin work on the new runway overlay at Ballina's Byron Gateway Airport.
There is also a chance the north coast could still benefit from a series of Restart NSW programs.
About $40million in new funding has been set aside to secure regional water supplies, $2.4million for15 rural doctor positions and $56million
Mr Stoner was yet to reveal where the Restart NSW money was headed on Tuesday.
It was also unclear which regions would bear the brunt of the predicted 5,000 public service cuts needed to fund the government's record infrastructure spend.