Today’s State Budget delivers no big bang to the Illawarra.
It’s no sizzle and under cooked.
There is no new funding for the promised $800 million investment in the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital and the construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
All we get is the same old ‘planning’ funds, which the Government has been ‘planning’ for the last six years.
The Government still refuses to outline a precise timetable on the construction of these two projects.
By the time the upgrade to Shellharbour Hospital and the construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass start – a few weeks before the 2019 election – the NSW Liberals will have been in office for nearly a decade.
My electorate expected to see the Government deliver real money in today’s budget.
The people of the southern Illawarra expected this budget would deliver real funding and a precise construction schedule for the $250 million investment to upgrade Shellharbour Hospital and the $550 million construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
Instead, patients will continue to wait long hours for treatment at Shellharbour Hospital and motorists will stew in increasing traffic congestion on the Princes Highway at Albion Park Rail.
The Budget could have delivered the start of construction for the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital from 1 July 2016, and construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass from 1 July 2017.
Instead, its priority is on Sydney.
The Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward MP has once again failed the Illawarra in this budget.
But it’s no wonder.
He is now the part-time Member for Kiama with his eye well and truly on taking the seat of Gilmore to head to Canberra at the 2019 federal election.