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Byron Shire
July 15, 2024

Ballina MP mostly welcomes state budget announcements

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Tamara Smith MP. Photo Tree Faerie.

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith has welcomed some of Labor’s funding announcements in last week’s state budget, including a new Fire and Rescue station for Byron Bay and more firies.

$8.2 million was allocated in the budget for replacing the existing facility but on a different unspecified site.

In a budget response statement, Ms Smith has also welcomed what she says is $16.5 million for house raises and retrofits in the Ballina electorate, more money for social housing across the state, and funding to fix the Alstonville/Bruxner highway intersection.

Still no emergency shelter in Byron Shire

One of last week’s biggest budget announcements was $6.6 billion for social housing in NSW but it lacked detail on any new public or social housing for the Northern Rivers.

Ms Smith has also separately shared concerns, with Greens Ballina Shire Councillor Kiri Dicker, over a potential lack of social and affordable housing in a recent Resilient Lands Program funding announcement.

The Ballina Shire Council is to receive $210,000 through the $100 million-dollar program to help support the delivery of a range of housing options across the Ballina Shire.

The money is to go towards the planning and design of medium-density housing on Council-owned land at Hutley Drive, Lennox Head and support capacity in the Ballina CBD, including shop-top living.  

The member for Ballina says she hopes any council land that comes under the Resilient Lands Program has a significant portion dedicated to either social or affordable housing.

The Byron Shire continued its status as a place without any government funded emergency shelter for people fleeing domestic violence after last week’s budget announcement.

Budget reannouncements

Many of the state figures were confirmations of announcements already made in the leadup to the state budget, such as continued expenditure of $723 million dollars allocated for the Tweed Valley Hospital.

There was also $2 million announced for redevelopment planning of the Ballina District Hospital.

Elsewhere, previously announced new preschools were confirmed for Wollongbar and Lennox Head Public Schools, while relocation and redevelopment of Lennox Head Public School is to continue.

Other references to the Northern Rivers in the new budget include continuation of the Resilient Homes and Land Programs, $5 million dollars for a local government economic and business package to improve the recovery of flood affected towns, and $3 million dollars for the Two Rooms Project helping flood survivors get back into their homes.

Wildlife hospital misses out

The Greens member says she was hoping for Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital, Northern Rivers Wildlife Hospital, and Bangalow Koalas to receive more funding.

Ms Smith also says while she welcome’s the NSW Government’s battery rebate, the scheme isn’t enough in terms of accessibility, is taking too long, and lacks detail.

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  1. Sounds like you are struggling to come up with much criticism there Tamara, it’s OK you can support a great Labor budget.

  2. A great Labour budget would have done something about the shocking level of gambling tax concessions.
    That’s money foregone to support our ailing housing, health, etc.


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