NSW Treasurer and Bega MP Andrew Constance said the centerpiece of his first Budget was the $1.6million donated to an oncology ward for Far South Coast patients.
Patients from the Eurobodalla to the border will benefit from funds to fit out Moruya Hospital’s oncology ward, now under construction.
“This is the centerpiece of the Budget as far as I am concerned for our community,” Mr Constance said.
He also announced other big-ticket items for the region, including $16million in new funding for the Kings Highway, $10million to upgrade Snug Cove at Eden, $10million for a long-awaited link road in Batemans Bay and a pool of $1.1billion for the Princes Highway over 10 years.
The first South Coast MP to hold the position of Treasurer made no apology for distancing himself from his Federal Coalition colleagues after the recent Federal Budget’s austerity measures.
“Putting the politics to one side, we cannot sustain a $24-25billion hit to the State Budget over the next 10 years from Canberra,” Mr Constance said.
“We need to get Canberra back to the table and discuss the Federation and find a way forward, particularly as it relates to health care.”
With the Federal Coalition suffering in the polls, Mr Constance denied he was pork barrelling, nine months shy of a State election.
“No, because if you look at our Budget, you will see a government that for three years did the repair work, by living within its means and that means keeping expenditure under control,” he said.
“As a result, we have strong surpluses in the years ahead.
“We have invested in frontline services and we have cleaned up waste across government and we are also recycling capital through our existing assets to invest in other infrastructure.
“It is a tremendous investment, but it has come off the back of three years of hard work to get the state’s finances where they are.”
“We are investing right across NSW.
“You will see brand new hospital rebuilds for Gosford, for Byron central.
“We have 16 major hospital rebuilds happening in communities from Wagga to Lismore.”
Mr Constance praised the work of Ron Snape and Rob Pollock, for pursuing fundraising for the Moruya oncology ward.
He said the $1.1billion allocated to the Princes Highway would benefit everyone on the coast.
The Batemans Bay link road, for which $10million was allocated, “was a road that should have been built a long time ago”.
“It is a major investment and is one that will open up the traffic flow through Batemans Bay,” he said.
“I am hoping we will see a lot more flexibility for the council to invest in other projects.”
The $20million announced in the Budget for the Kings Highway included $4million for the current financial year, $10million for 2014-15 and a further $6million for 2015-16.
He described the highway as a major commercial link for the coast.
He said Princes Highway improvements would deliver a dual carriageway to Jervis Bay turnoff.
Mr Constance said the $10million allocated for a wave attenuator at Snug Cove had followed a community call for action from the Eden community.
“Eden has had enormous challenges in terms of its local economy,” he said.
“It was vital to make Snug Cove safe for marine vessels.”