Budget big bucks heading our way

THE region’s state MPs are celebrating “record” spends in their electorates after NSW treasurer Andrew Constance handed down his first state budget yesterday.

NSW treasurer Andrew Constance making his budget speech in state parliament yesterday.

NSW treasurer Andrew Constance making his budget speech in state parliament yesterday.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said a record $248 million had been allocated to his electorate, including $42 million on roads infrastructure, while Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall welcomed a “record” $61 million-plus for local roads and transport infrastructure.

While there were not a lot of new announcements, MPs welcomed the guarantee of funding to ensure projects could begin or continue to evolve.

Mr Anderson said further investment in the Tamworth hospital redevelopment ($85 million), Chaffey Dam upgrade and Gunnedah’s rail overpass ($800,000) were all welcome, along with $5 million for the Tangaratta Bridge upgrade, $3 million for a roundabout at Dampier St, Tamworth, on the Oxley Highway, and a “surprise” $7.5 million for a replacement bridge on the Manilla/Boggabri road at Boggabri.

“This budget is great news for the Tamworth electorate and I will continue to build on the investment to keep the Tamworth electorate moving, ensuring growth, job creation and prosperity,” he said.

While the new Parry School wasn’t mentioned, Mr Anderson was quick to assure the community the government was still committed to the project, which was about to go to tender.

Mr Marshall was pleased with the commitment to local road projects, but said the most exciting piece of news for his community was the prioritisation of the long-awaited Armidale Hospital 

redevelopment. “For the first time Armidale Hospital appears in the budget and we will get a share of the new $50 million Regional Health Infrastructure fund,” he said.

“Earlier this year the Health Minister Jillian Skinner announced $400,000 to undertake planning and final costing of the project, which is progressing well.

“While it’s far too early to pop the champagne corks, this is very positive news and the strongest sign we’ve had that this project will proceed.”

Mr Marshall also welcomed the allocation of the remaining funds for the new Emu Crossing Bridge at Bundarra, an additional $5 million for the Bolivia Hill re-alignment and another injection of funds for the Tenterfield Heavy Vehicle Bypass.

In Barwon, member Kevin Humphries said $17 million was committed to the second stage of the Moree Bypass, more than $15 million for indigenous housing Moree, Brewarrina, Mungindi and Lightning Ridge, and $3.2 million towards upgrades at Brewarrina Central School, Moree East Public, Narrabri Public and Walgett Community College High School.

Millions, too, have been committed to bridges and pavement replacement on the Newell and Kamilaroi highways.

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