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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP


Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell has described the NSW’s Labor Government’s first financial plan for the state in over a decade as a ‘slash and burn’ budget.

“The regions are paying the price for the new government’s focus on western Sydney and their desire for public sector wage growth,” Mr Layzell said.
“There are no additional measures to boost local regional economies, with the only ray of sunshine for the Upper Hunter being projects that have been committed to by the former NSW Nationals and Liberals Government, have not been cut.”

NSW 2023-24 Budget allocations for the Upper Hunter Electorate include:

· Singleton Bypass - $33m of the $700m total cost to commence pre-construction;

· Muswellbrook Bypass - $12m of the $336m total cost for planning and early work;

· Golden Highway projects - $8.5 million towards safety and productivity upgrades;

· Tocal College, Paterson - $27.2m for targeted workforce development training;

· Hunter Flood Mitigation Scheme - $20m of $47.5m total cost for repairs and rebuilds;

· Muswellbrook Hospital Stage 3 Redevelopment - $10m of the $45m total cost;

· Dungog Fire Station land and new station - $1.9m of the $2.8m total cost; and,

· Singleton Police Station - $1.49m of the $12m total cost.

“I’m really pleased to see the Treasurer’s razor gangs have spared our critical local infrastructure projects like the Singleton Bypass and I am thankful that our hard work to date has kept it on track for delivery,” Mr Layzell added.

While keen to celebrate the local infrastructure funding wins, the member for Upper Hunter has acknowledged bitter disappointment in the overall reduction of some of our funding programs that are the most beneficial to the Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter council areas, in particular Resources for Regions.

The NSW Nationals and Liberals Regional Growth Fund which includes Resources for Regions, Stronger Country Communities and the Regional Events Acceleration Fund is being redirected to fund other Government priorities and election commitments.

“Resources for Regions is about returning the coal royalties back to those regions that are most impacted by coal mining,” Mr Layzell said.

“This has happened at a time when the Minns Labor Government has increased the tax on coal royalties by $2.6 billion.

“The Upper Hunter Electorate is the industrial powerhouse of the NSW economy, so these communities deserve to be treated with respect because for every dollar extracted from coal companies will be a dollar less for local community programs.”

Mr Layzell has also expressed concern about the devastating impact the budget will have on the cost of living for seniors and families.

“The budget confirms the Regional Seniors Travel Card has been cut and everyday supports to families like vouchers for Active Kids and Creative Kids and the First Lap learn to swim program have all been scaled back.

“Upper Hunter Electorate sporting clubs will most definitely feel the impact of these changes as families scale back their discretionary spending for their children.

“I will be working hard to remind the Government that people in coal mining regions and those struggling with rising inflation pressures deserve a fair go like any other part of the state.”


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