Singh not impressed with Budget announcements

MEMBER for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh has accused the State Government of turning its back on the needs of areas like the Coffs Coast following Tuesday’s release of the NSW Budget.

Mr Singh said the Budget suggested the Labor party was “far removed” from the realities of life in regional centres like Coffs Harbour.

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“Local families, workers, small businesses, farmers and seniors are continuing to struggle with the rising cost of living and unfortunately, today’s Budget gives them no reprieve,” said Mr Singh, Shadow Minister for Tourism, Emergency Services and the North Coast.

“The NSW Opposition has been calling on the Minns Labor Government to restore vital cost of living relief like the Active Kids and Creative Kids vouchers and the Regional Seniors Travel Card, which all proved to be extremely successful under the NSW Coalition Government.

“Instead of showing its support for our regional residents, Labor has shown it simply doesn’t care about some of the more pressing needs facing country communities.

“The Government has no solutions for deep-seated problems which are continuing to bite – increasing homelessness and the housing crisis, spiralling crime rates, and the daily pressures faced by our teachers and nurses.

“Coffs Harbour Hospital in particular desperately needs more resources.”

In particular, Mr Singh said he thought the Budget fell short of delivering meaningful social housing solutions.

“The Treasurer began his Budget speech talking about housing, so it’s particularly disappointing to see no budget allocated for more social housing on the Coffs Coast, given the Minns Labor Government cancelled the Argyll Estate redevelopment last year.”

On housing, NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey announced plans to deliver up to 30,000 new homes over the next four years through an “unprecedented intervention in the housing market by leveraging surplus government land and public housing construction”.

“The NSW Government has been conducting an audit of government land to identify surplus sites that are suitable for social, affordable or market housing,” Mr Mookhey said.

“This audit has identified an initial 44 sites not being used by government that are suitable for housing.

“In many cases these sites have been left unused for years despite being located close to transport and other essential infrastructure.

“The Government will make these sites available for housing with Homes NSW and Landcom, the government’s developers, to have the first choice of sites for the delivery of social, affordable, essential worker and market housing.

“Other sites will be developed into housing in partnership with the private sector.

“The locations of these sites will be made public over the coming weeks and months as they are transferred to housing delivery agencies or brought to market.”

Locally, the Budget includes $926 million to continue construction of the Coffs Harbour bypass, $61.7 million for a new purpose-built office hub in Coffs Harbour, and $20 million for the redevelopment of the Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshore Precinct.

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