The Illawarra’s Labor MPs have labelled the NSW budget a con job, a slap in the face and a ‘‘kick up the bum’’, expressing shock and disappointment in the ‘‘minor crumbs’’ Treasurer Andrew Constance delivered for the region.
Keira MP Ryan Park was left speechless when told the government had only spent $300,000 of the Port Kembla lease fund in the past year, and said it was ‘‘farcical’’ that the full $100 million was yet to be allocated.
‘‘Wow, you’re kidding, OK, that’s simply appalling,’’ he said.
‘‘This was meant to be a fund that was about stimulating investment, encouraging job growth and supporting our economy as we transitioned from a manufacturing into other sectors.’’
‘‘You can’t say, years and years after, that it will still do this - businesses will have closed and people will have left our region.’’
Mr Park also said the preferential treatment given to the Hunter region over the Illawarra was grossly unfair.
‘‘It made my blood boil, that two regional economies that are going through very similar economic changes and experiencing similar challenges are being treated so very differently,’’ he said.
Shellharbour MP Anna Watson said she was disappointed only ‘‘a miserable’’ $1million had been put towards planning work for the Albion Park Rail bypass, saying her constituents would be forced to wait years for the vital piece of infrastructure.
Ms Watson welcomed $6.1 million funding for a new ambulatory care facility at Shellharbour Hospital but said it fell way short of the $300 million upgrade previously identified as necessary by the government.
Wollongong MP Noreen Hay said a commitment to install of the lifts at Unanderra station had still not been kept and said the budget was full of ‘‘rhetoric’’ to justify ongoing privatisation.
‘‘The reality of this budget is that there has been three years of spinning the same rhetoric, big numbers being waved around to justify a total privatisation mentality, cuts in education [and] cuts to health,’’ she said.
‘‘Add to this some pre-budget actions such as the cancellation of the Early Intervention Project in Port Kembla and to women’s homeless projects at Wollongong Emergency Family Housing, Wollongong Women’s Housing, Lighthouse Community Care - the list goes on.’’