Central Coast receives little joy from NSW Budget

Northbound congestion on the Pacifi c Highway in the Wyong Town CentreNorthbound congestion on the Pacific Highway in the Wyong Town Centre

Highlights of the NSW 2021-22 Budget are $4M for the Wyong Town Centre Pacific Highway upgrade, $17.8M for extra commuter car parking at Tuggerah Station and $8.1M for social housing on the Central Coast.

Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, handed down the Budget on Tuesday, June 22, which Parliamentary Secretary for Central Coast, Adam Crouch, says will help the Coast continue its recovery from COVID-19 by focussing on jobs.

“NSW’s approach is to lock down the virus, not lock down the state, and this will continue.

“The best way to help the local economy bounce back from COVID-19 is to create new jobs and this will be achieved through the significant share of Budget funding being allocated to the Central Coast,” Crouch said.

In the health sector there is $32.8M to complete the redevelopment of Wyong Hospital, a new hospital security package for staff safety and the continuation of Patient Experience Officers at Wyong and Gosford Hospitals, as well as a new program to convert existing paramedics to Intensive Care Paramedics.

There’s funding for the Police Ambulance and Clinical Early Response (PACER) program to operate in both Tuggerah Lakes and Brisbane Water Police Districts, and a new Safeguards Child and Adolescent Mental Health Response Team.

The Budget includes the 2.5 percent wage increase previously promised to 8,000 staff at Central Coast Local Health District, as well as thousands more public sector employees including police, firefighters, paramedics and teachers.

There is $830,000 to continue the upgrade of Brooke Avenue Public School at Killarney Vale and $16.1M to complete construction of the new Porters Creek Public School at Warnervale.

Families will welcome free preschool for the remainder of 2021 and all of 2022, as well as the new $100 learn to swim voucher for every preschool aged child.

A new infrastructure contributions system will be implemented to collect levies on local developments.

Continuation of the $1,500 fees and charges rebate scheme will allow small businesses to cover the cost of government fees and charges.

There is $45M to continue planning the fast rail program between Sydney, Canberra, Bomaderry, Newcastle, Central Coast and the Central West.

Shadow Minister for Central Coast and Wyong MP, David Harris, said the Budget offered no new major infrastructure projects to stimulate the Coast’s economy and supercharge jobs in the post-Covid future.

“Motorists will have to wait longer for relief on major arterial roads with only the Pacific Highway at Lisarow receiving construction money for the works already underway,” he said.

“Road projects in other areas including the Central Coast Highway from Tumbi Umbi to Bateau Bay, and the Pacific Highway through Wyong once again only received planning dollars, offering zero short to medium term relief for road users.”

Harris said the only new major commuter funding was for Tuggerah Station commuter carpark, promised in 2019 ($16.9M) and other commitments were for access projects already started.

“There are only two schools on the Coast, Porters Creek under construction and Brooke Avenue Public School to receive any substantial funding, which means many schools continue to rely on demountable classrooms taking up valuable playground space,” he said.

“There is no construction money for the ‘faster trains’, a promise made at the 2019 election, only more planning money for the Woy Woy to Hornsby section.

“The social housing crisis has not been addressed with only upgrades to existing properties leading to no impact on the growing waiting lists in a Central Coast housing and rental market under real stress.

“There is no enhanced funding to address Tuggerah Lakes and coastal erosion issues, despite the cries of the community for action on both fronts.”

Harris said the NSW Liberal Government had missed a real chance to fast track some major road and infrastructure projects to boost the Central Coast economy, creating jobs and relieving congestion.

“Once again, we have been kept on hold, with planning money, but no funds to actually start building projects resulting in local business and families trapped in congestion whether travelling to work, school or for social excursions,” he said.

“It’s a real disappointment that this Budget has done nothing to reverse the massive cuts to social housing on the Coast, which has resulted in there being 200 less social housing dwellings than there was 10 years ago.

“The lack of sufficient social housing has a direct impact on our current housing affordability crisis,” Harris said.

Swansea MP, Yasmin Catley, also said the Liberals had yet again forgotten the Coast in this Budget.

“This was a real opportunity to stimulate the Central Coast economy by investing in major infrastructure projects, like the much needed upgrade to Carters Rd at Lake Munmorah, to help tackle traffic congestion.

“Once again, the Central Coast is an afterthought for the Berejiklian Government,” Catley said.

Sue Murray