BUDGET TIME: Did it deliver for the Clarence?
THERE’LL be some sighs of relief across the Clarence as promised money for infrastructure in the area appeared in the NSW Budget today.
The delayed budget makes mention of money allocated for the planning for the Grafton Base Hospital redevelopment.
On the health front, it also commits $5 million in 2020-21 to the construction of the $10 million Iluka Ambulance Station which was promised by Deputy Premier John Barilaro in 2018.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the NSW Budget provides a major boost for the things that matter in the Clarence.
“Funding has been committed as promised to get planning under way for the major redevelopment of Grafton Base Hospital,” he said.
“Five million dollars has been allocated this financial year to start building Iluka’s first ever ambulance station. This is half the estimated total cost of the historic project.”
There is also money for the Clarence in completing many near-to-the-end projects in the area, such as the Clarence Correctional Centre.
The government will allocate $20.2 million in 2020-21 (as part of a $798.8 million project) to finalise the completion of the Clarence Correctional Centre which has been operational since July 1.
The budget also commits an additional $3.1 million in 2020-21 financial year as part of a $17.5 million project for the completion of the Grafton Hospital Ambulatory Care Centre redevelopment.
There is also $1.9 million allocated in 2020-21 as part of a $3.8 million project for connecting the Harwood Marine Precinct to the Pacific Highway.
Mr Gulaptis said smaller grants have been provided for rehabilitation and protection works in support of the Clarence River Erosion Management Plan, a new boat ramp at Wooli and a jetty upgrade at Flo Clarke Park in Lawrence.
“The Clarence Valley will benefit from a range of education initiatives including free pre-schooling, free student tutoring and the installation of energy efficient lighting in public schools,” Mr Gulaptis said.
Mr Gulaptis said the Nationals in NSW Government were also boosting the transformational Regional Growth Fund with a further $300 million to continue delivering grass roots projects to local communities, bringing the fund’s total to $2 billion.
The state government will also give every adult in NSW four $25 vouchers to spend separately on dining and entertainment as a stimulus measure to encourage visits to struggling cafes, restaurants and cultural institutions.
“I encourage all local residents to use those vouchers locally. They are designed to support your local small business, not go to Coffs Harbour, Ballina or Lismore,” Mr Gulaptis said.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro lauded the investment in the area.
“This Budget is a massive win for the people of Regional NSW with crucial funding commitments to health, education and transport in our regions,” he said.