The NSW Budget, handed down on June 18, has been met with a mixed reaction on the Coast, with Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, welcoming a $802m surplus and Labor MPs, Liesl Tesch (Gosford) and David Mehan (the Entrance), saying it is a budget “delivered by a government that has run out of ideas” comprising “a series of re-announced projects”.
Crouch said the Budget delivered on election commitments and got on with the job of building a better NSW.
“Strong financial management has ensured NSW is the number one state in Australia, which means our Government can take the pressure off families and provide support for those who need it,” he said.
Crouch said highlights included : $13.5m to continue upgrades at Terrigal and Wamberal Public Schools; $2.5m to kick-start the redevelopment of Gosford Police Station; $60.5m for stage 1 of the Wyong Hospital redevelopment; and, $151.2m for Central Coast road projects, namely $6.5m to complete the Empire Bay Drive intersection at Kincumber; $33.9m for the Pacific Highway at Lisarow, and $104.6m for the M1 Pacific Highway between Tuggerah and Doyalson and Kariong and Somersby.
There has also been a $93m commitment for planning for a new rail alignment, including between Sydney and Woy Woy; $212,000 to plan an expanded commuter car park at Tuggerah; $6.3m towards the Gosford City Centre water supply and sewerage upgrades; $1m to continue renovation and extension work at Kariong Fire Station; $16m for essential infrastructure works at Mount Penang Parklands; $500,000 to investigate water quality at Terrigal and surrounds; and $200,000 for Tuggerah Lakes.
But Tesch and Mehan said despite a surplus delivered by privatising $70b worth of public assets and service cuts affecting the Coast, the budget has delivered no new major projects for the region.
“The Liberals have failed to deliver specific funding or a timeline on their election commitment to station access upgrades at Ourimbah, Narara, Lisarow, Point Clare and Niagara Park,” they said.
They said disappointments for the Coast included no commitment to reining in parking costs at Wyong and Gosford Hospitals.
Tesch said she was disappointed with the lack of investment in the growing region.
“The Liberal Government is telling us to take 70,000 additional residents escaping Sydney over the next 15 years but they have provided no support to assist with that growth, no plan for how our infrastructure will cope, and no funding for additional jobs,” she said.
“The election has given the government a blank cheque to get away with ignoring regional areas.
“There is no vision, no consideration of the big issues affecting our region or our state.”
While Tesch welcomed news that maximum weekly Opal card charges will drop to $50, she said that without more services it would be less of an incentive for people to use public transport.
Meanwhile, NSW Business Chamber said that despite no major announcements beyond election commitments, investment in public transport and road projects was welcome.
Central Coast Regional Director, Paula Martin, said the Budget gave local business much needed confidence that the Government is listening to the needs of the State, but more action was needed.
“A commitment to provide 100,000 fee-free VET courses will facilitate necessary skills pathways to our unemployed youth, the third highest rate in NSW,” Martin said.
“However, business conditions remain difficult on the Central Coast and we need as much investment as we can get.
“Our community is primed and ready for growth but there are some headwinds facing the economy and with $93b of investment already in the pipeline, there is a lot to get through.
“Infrastructure priorities that can transform the Central Coast include addressing the lack of transport connectivity, a major barrier to thriving home grown industry north and south of the region
“Business precinct investment to encourage the start-up and scaling of high tech industry is essential to reduce the skills drainage of high knowledge workers to Sydney on a daily basis.
“An aggressive focus on the revitalisation of the Gosford CBD including settling on a site for UoN Gosford Campus is vital for positioning the Central Coast as a ‘smart’ region, offering industry valuable connections to innovation and research.
“We will continue to work with all levels of government to ensure the Central Coast gets the infrastructure and the investment it needs to grow, prosper and meet its full potential.”
Media release, Jun 18
Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch
Media release, Jun 18
MPs, Liesl Tesch (Gosford), and David Mehan (The Entrance)
Media release, Jun 19
NSW Business Chamber, Central Coast