Gunnedah Shire Mayor, Jamie Chaffey says the NSW Budget released today “holds no pleasant surprises” for the Shire.
“This State Budget includes the big ticket items of $52 million for the Gunnedah Hospital Redevelopment, $5.6 million for the Gunnedah Koala Sanctuary and $2.5 million for an Early Childhood Education Centre at Gunnedah Campus,” Mayor Chaffey said.
“This looks great on paper, but the Gunnedah Koala Sanctuary was already committed by previous governments, and it appears there is no additional funding to include all the critical services originally promised as part of the Gunnedah Hospital Redevelopment.
“In this case, no news is a long way from being good news.”
He said the real winner in the Labor Government’s first term Budget was Western Sydney.
“The whole of regional New South Wales has $1.8 billion listed for new investment, while Western Sydney has in excess of $14 billion, including $7.9 billion for the Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport project.”
But while disappointed with the distribution of funds, the Mayor said there were some encouraging commitments among the Budget documents.
“It is great to see funding going towards easing the cost of living in energy rebates and assistance for first home buyers,” he said.
“I’m also really pleased to see a commitment to additional paramedics and funding to transition part-time nursing staff to full-time positions.
“We are yet to know how some of these new initiatives – such as the Regional Development Trust Fund, the Working Regions Fund, Housing Infrastructure Fund and the Establishing Regional Future Jobs and Investment Authority – will work for Gunnedah Shire and for regional New South Wales. We will be looking for further details.”
The Mayor said he was also less than confident that roads funding will address the huge costs faced in Gunnedah’s local government area, particularly given the recent flood events.
“This is a disappointing Budget that has not heard our concerns,” he said.