The NSW 2018-2019 state budget has bee criticised on a number of fronts by both Labor and the Greens with Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh slamming ‘the Liberal-National governments budget as a con on our local community.’
‘They have had eight years to prioritise the North Coast and yet the gap between Sydney and the rest of New South Wales continues to widen. We are seeing flat wages growth, increasing cost of living, a crisis in housing affordability and, despite this cash splash, a lack of investment in critical services,’ said Mr Pugh.
‘Before the last election this government promised that selling off our polls and wires would bring down electricity prices. Under this government electricity prices have increased 60 per cent since 2011.’
‘Mr Franklin has been running around our community holding fist fulls of dollars, as if that will make us forget eight long years of neglect of our hospitals and schools. That it would make us forget the destruction of our TAFE system.
‘This government is terrified of losing the next election and is throwing a few sweeteners to try and buy our votes before the election. Our community isn’t buying it.’
‘We have the longest elective surgery waiting lists in NSW history and less that 15 per cent of road funding is going to regional NSW.’
North Coast Greens MP Dawn Walker highlighted the reckless treatment of the environment and the reduced support for Murwillumbah TAFE as demonstrating how the state governments budget ‘falls short of what the North Coast community expect’.
‘It’s disgraceful that we live in the most biodiverse part of NSW here on the North Coast, yet this state government is totally reckless when it comes to environmental protection. For instance, koalas have declined by 50 per cent in the last 20 years on the North Coast and the government’s response is to plough highways through their precious habitat and create a few small reserves that are already degraded from past logging operations,’ said Ms Walker.
‘I’m also very concerned about the future of Murwillumbah TAFE with the government allocating money for a scaled-down digital shopfront in Murwillumbah that will no doubt result in the closure of Murwillumbah TAFE campus and a real loss of hands-on, practical skills training for our community, as it has in other towns where they have built a Connected Learning Centre.
‘This budget also shows the Liberal-National Government have no credible plan to address climate change or promote renewable energy.
‘We are living with climate disruption now. Every day the NSW Government delays in taking action to address climate change causes risk to people, communities and our environment. We’ve recently seen the damage from severe flooding across the North Coast that will worsen due to climate change.
‘The NSW Liberal-National Government has ensured NSW remains one of the largest coal exporting regions anywhere on the planet and have plans for new and expanding fossil fuel projects, from coal to coal seam gas across NSW.
‘This budget is built on a decade of privatisations that have increased the costs of living and delayed critical action to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and respond to climate disruption.
‘This budget locks in privatised roads in the city, wasteful sport stadium rebuilds and does little to address our housing affordability crisis, continues growing inequality and has no plan for creating a more fair and caring society.’