The Liberal-National state government’s $500 million promise to regional communities should be treated with scepticism given its poor record of funding the regions. 

The Growing Local Economies Fund pales in comparison with Labor’s policy commitment that every dollar from the billions raised from the sale of NSW’s share of Snowy Hydro to the Commonwealth will go to regional NSW.

Labor Leader Luke Foley has promised a government he leads will support the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme to the Federal Government on the condition the money goes to improve regional infrastructure.

The value of NSW’s share of the Snowy Hydro scheme is estimated at between $5 and $7 billion which, under Labor’s plan, would be spent on regional schools, health, roads, water security and new sources of electricity.

NSW Labor says regional communities should also judge the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government on its record to date. Despite promising to spend 30 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of the state’s poles and wires, the NSW Auditor General found that the State Government has spent just 10 per cent last year.

And, if the State Government was serious about regional jobs, it would build our trains here, rather than send the work and jobs offshore as it is doing with the new intercity fleet that is being built in South Korea.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“The Liberals and Nationals have been in Government for six years but they have disgracefully neglected people in the regions. Regional NSW has been shortchanged.

“A Foley Labor Government in 2019 will ensure that the billions of dollars that will flow from the nationalisation of Snowy Hydro will be put right back where it belongs – in local infrastructure for the people of regional NSW.

“Regional NSW has heard it all before from this Government. They want to see a concrete plan for investment not more empty promises.” 

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Regional Development David Harris

“People of regional NSW have sat by whilst the Berejiklian- Barilaro Government has squandered billions of dollars on Sydney-centric project blowouts.

“It’s taken an Auditor-General’s report, a disastrous by-election and pressure from the Labor Opposition for the Government to finally turn their attention to the neglected people of regional NSW.

“If the Government was serious about regional jobs, it would ensure the new regional rail fleet was fully built in regional NSW not sent to be built in South Korea.”