LAKE Macquarie MP Greg Piper said if the state government had been fair dinkum about driving the Hunter’s economy it would have announced major capital works funding for the region in Tuesday’s budget.
Instead, the Hunter largely missed out on funding for major projects, despite the government boasting of record infrastructure spending and a healthy surplus.
“Today’s state budget shows that the finances of NSW are in very good shape, due in no small part to the privatisation of public assets and massive stamp duty receipts,” Mr Piper said.
“But it also shows that the government is continuing to spend those windfalls in Sydney at the expense of regional areas.”
Government assurances that the budget would ‘‘turbo charge the regions’’ would be doubted by many in the Hunter, he said.
“If the government was serious about driving the economy in the Lower Hunter we would have seen significant capital works funding for projects such as the planned Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange.”
The budget did feature a $1.7m commitment to prepare new costings for the interchange and associated roadworks. Mr Piper said this was a step in the right direction, but one which didn’t go far enough.
Other local highlights from the budget included: $1.1m for the upgrade of recreational boating facilities around the lake: $820,000 for ongoing works to connect Wyee residential areas to the main sewer network; $1.86m to upgrade social housing in the electorate; and a share of the $100m in additional funds for statewide palliative care services to hopefully extend a 24/7 outreach program throughout all of Lake Macquarie, he said.