Government must keep Ballina Budget Promises

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith has called on the Baird/Grant Coalition Government to keep their election promises for the Ballina Electorate in this year’s State Budget which will be handed down tomorrow.

Ms Smith said, “The Government made a number of significant promises to the electorate of Ballina for important community services and infrastructure, and I expect them to live up to those promises in the Budget. I supported many of the commitments made by the Government during the campaign.

Government’s Election Promises

During the 2015 Election Campaign the coalition made a number of major promises to the Ballina electorate including the following:

Promise

$ committed

Details

Ballina High Schools

$40m

Commitment to upgrade high schools in Ballina

Alstonville High School

$1.5m

Grant for upgrades to the school from the Innovative Education, Successful Students program

Waterlily Park – Ocean Shores

$250k

Upgrades to the park to include new play equipment, pathways, shade and eating areas as well as dredging the lake and cleaning the drains that flow into the park.

Byron Central Hospital

TBD

$1.5m was included in 2014/15 Budget to start construction. Total estimated cost is $80m

Boating infrastructure

$2.78m

10 projects under the state-wide $14m per year NSW Boating Now program were identified in the Ballina electorate.

Recycling Centres in Ballina and Byron

$220k

Commitment under the Waste Less, Recycle More Initiative which is a $465.7m fund over 5 years.

Green Bin Program for Byron Bay

$745k

Commitment under the Waste Less, Recycle More Initiative which is a $465.7m fund over 5 years.

 

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith has called on the Baird/Grant Coalition Government to keep their election promises for the Ballina Electorate in this year’s State Budget which will be handed down tomorrow.

Ms Smith said, “The Government made a number of significant promises to the electorate of Ballina for important community services and infrastructure, and I expect them to live up to those promises in the Budget. I supported many of the commitments made by the Government during the campaign.

Education and Health Funding

Ms Smith said:

“There are significant financial resources needed in health and education infrastructure on the North Coast particularly in new buildings and improvements at local high schools.

“The $40million commitment to Ballina High Schools needs to be based on genuine community consultation about what is best for the Ballina community, existing schools and future opportunities for students in Ballina.

“Funding to finish the Byron Central Hospital is needed and there is strong community support for a funding commitment to deliver upgrades to the Emergency Room and for a new operating theatre at Ballina Hospital.”

Green programs and recycling

 “I look forward to seeing investment in local recycling centres and support for a Green Bin Scheme for Byron Shire. This electorate is internationally known for its clean and green image and we should be the leaders in recycling and waste management.

“The new centres will help reduce illegal dumping and ensure we are reducing litter entering our waterways and the ocean.

“The $765,000 promise still only represents 0.01% of the $93m in annual funding available under the State’s Waste Less, Recycle More Initiative and I look forward to working with councils in the area and the local community to ensure we are attracting our fair share of state funding into the future. I also look forward to seeing the planned move to a container deposit scheme by 2017 reflected in this year’s Budget”

Transport Infrastructure

Ms Smith said:

“Ongoing work to finish the Pacific Highway upgrades is a long standing commitment from all sides of politics, but there is a need for funding to be put towards improving the public transport network across our region. 

“While there is a regional transport plan, it lacks a comprehensive public transport strategy. Funding is needed to support the development and then implementation of a strategy that links transport services to meet the needs of local residents and visitors to our region.

“There is also a need for more investment in active transport infrastructure including cycle ways and footpaths. This infrastructure supports local residents and visitors to access employment and services, for exercise and mobility for elderly residents.”  

Gas licences in the Northern Rivers

Ms Smith said:

“Parliament should have the ability to legislate in the public interest and cancel coal seam gas licences without compensation and have proposed legislation to do that. If the Government plans to pursue a buy-back of PEL445 and compensation for Metgasco, it needs to ensure there is sufficient funding allocated to do that. The community didn’t ask for this industry and it should have to pay to tell them to leave the Northern Rivers.”

Ballina Sports Centre

Ms Smith said:

“The Ballina Sports Centre has the strong backing of the community and local council and now it is time for the Government to get behind this important project with funding.

There is a desperate need for a dedicated indoor sports facility in Ballina that meets the needs of the Shire’s growing population.” 

 

Other projects requiring funding

The remains broad support in the community for Government funding to support other important local infrastructure and services.

Promise

Funding required

Details

Ballina Sports Centre

 $25m

An important piece of community infrastructure which has the backing of council and the community.  

Ballina Marine Rescue Tower

$850K

Urgent rebuild required to ensure volunteers have a safe working environment.

Active transport improvements

$5.5m

Ocean Shores and Ballina cycleways and footpaths

Ballina Hospital upgrades

$8m

New operating theatre and Emergency Room upgrade are urgently required.

Public transport improvements

TBD

A regional public transport strategy needs to be developed to build on the 2013 Northern Rivers Regional Transport Plan.

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