The 2016/2017 NSW State Budget has failed the Illawarra region with the Treasurer making re-announcements of existing projects and announcing nothing new for the Illawarra. Of particular concern, the Government has remained silent on the Illawarra Steel Industry despite State Labor outlining their plan and commitment for the steel industry in recent weeks.
The budget has failed the Illawarra and ignored the needs of our community.
The Liberal Government’s budget this week yet again ignored the significant maintenance backlog in Illawarra schools, which are among the most dilapidated in the state.
Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts is the third most dilapidated in NSW, with repairs of $2.36 million outstanding. Smith’s Hill High ($2.15m) is the second worst in the region followed by Oaks Flat High ($1.84m) and Bulli High ($1.71m).
Yet this week’s budget ignored the needs of the Illawarra, with the Treasurer choosing to allocate insufficient funds to addressthe dilapidated buildings are students are forced to learn in.
In NSW there is a maintenance backlog of more than $732 million. The Treasurer only announced $330mil for maintenance over the next two years for the State of NSW. With the list growing this means students will be forced to learn in dilapidated buildings.
The future of TAFE could not be more uncertain with the Liberal Baird Government today reaffirming their position regarding TAFE with no mention of extra funds in the 2016/2017 budget.
Since 2012, the Baird Government has sacked some 5,200 employees. Enrolments are at an all-time low in NSW with 120,000 less students enrolled and those students who do choose to enroll are confronted with exorbitant fees.
It is no secret that we are in the middle of a steel crisis. Labor unveiled their plan weeks ago and the Greens within the past few days also committed their support. All the while the NSW Liberals have been completely missing when it comes to this issue.
The NSW Budget has no plan for steel. This was prime opportunity for the Government to outline their plan and show their support for the industry and the thousands of workers this affect yet they remained silent and have committed nothing.
It is disappointing the Baird Government has not committed any planning funds for a Memorial Drive extension in this year’s budget. The final stage of memorial drive would link the existing road with Bulli Pass thus improving safety and ease congestion.
A corridor of land between the Bulli Pass hairpin and the northern end of Memorial Drive at Bulli has been zoned as a road reservation since 2009 yet still not on the radar for this Government.
Over the past few days the NSW Liberal Government have been crowing about how much money they have in surplus yet they have failed to allocate any funds to Mt Keira power and communications upgrade. This is despite Government departments heavily reliant on the telecommunications.
The NSW Government has left the burden of the cost on Wollongong City Council and is refusing to contribute. Latest figures indicate the estimated cost of the power upgrade is $2.1 - $2.5 million.
Vital emergency services are amongst the users of the tower including NSW Police, Ambulance and Rural Fire Service. Currently these services are run off a generator with annual fuel costs around $85,000. This cost is paid for by Wollongong City Council.