BAIRD GOVERNMENT ABANDONS HUNTER YET AGAIN-->
The Baird Government has abandoned Newcastle and the Hunter yet again – failing to mention the region even once in its new State Priorities.
The snub comes amid rising unemployment rates in the region, with figures released yesterday showing:
- In Newcastle, the unemployment rate is 6.6 per cent, up from 4.2 per cent last month and 4.9 per cent in 2011; and
- The unemployment rate in the wider Hunter region (excluding Newcastle) is now 10.1 per cent – skyrocketing from 5.8 per cent in 2011.
The State Priorities released by the Government earlier this week make no mention of regional areas or even any area outside of Sydney. The priorities also make no mention of agriculture, primary industries, rural affairs or regional development.
Despite the increased unemployment figures, the Government is continuing with its plan to spend $100 million on removing the heavy rail line and reinstalling a light rail line just meters away.
Repurposing the existing heavy rail line would allow that $100 million figure to be reinvested into the community through job creating infrastructure projects that would bolster tourism to the region.
Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley
“It is absolutely stunning that in a list of 30 State Priorities the Baird Government didn’t bother to mention Newcastle or the Hunter even once.”
“This Sydney-centric Government has produced a plan for the state which totally ignores the Hunter – a region facing some of the highest unemployment rates we’ve seen in the last four years.”
“The plans the Baird Government has put forward for the Newcastle light rail line are a wasteful use of funds that could be best invested back into the community.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp
“This isn’t the first time the Baird Government has left this region behind; they’ve delivered an underdone plan for a transport interchange that won’t serve the community.”
“The Baird Government is ignoring the feedback from Newcastle locals about their needs and what they deserve as the second biggest city in the state.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Hunter Jodie Harrison
“The people in the Hunter deserve more than a wasteful plan. If the Baird Government is going to invest in infrastructure projects, it should invest in the right areas that will create jobs for the region.”