AS soon as he gets his hands on a copy of the NSW Budget on Tuesday, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson will be skimming through the thick document, looking for one name – Banskia.
Mr Anderson said building a better Banksia Mental Health Unit was his “number one priority” for this budget.
The NSW government has already announced there will be $20m on the table for mental health infrastructure. While Mr Anderson admitted he doesn’t know how much it’ll take to get Banksia up to scratch, or how much it will cost, he wants to see the facility get a slice of the pie.
“I would be delighted to see the word Banksia in the budget,” he said.
“It would be mana from the heavens if we can lock it in. We had Mental Health Minister Tanya Davis up here, because we want her to know how important this is to our community.
“That’s why we’ve been having whole of community pushes, even as late as two weeks ago, to show the government how badly we need this.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed and my toes crossed – I’ve got everything crossed to see Banksia in the budget.”
Mr Anderson, who is the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads, is also seeking funding to upgrade Tamworth’s increasingly busy road network.
“Road have been a major focus of mine over the past few years,” Mr Anderson said.
“I want to see money allocated to finishing off the Manilla Road upgrade, with traffic lights at Jewry Street bridge.
“In addition to that, we need funding to upgrade Goonoo Goonoo Road to a dual carriage near AELEC.
“I’m working on Rangari Road options and ultimately I’ll keep pushing for an upgrade to Port Stephens Cutting.”
The Tamworth MP also wants to see a regional job action plan to layout opportunities for job creation.
“We need to establish pathways that provide job opportunities to get youth unemployment down,” Mr Anderson said.
The Tamworth electorate has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in NSW, sitting at 17.5 per cent.