PARLIAMENTARY APPROPRIATION BILL
BUSINESS FRANCHISE LICENCES (PETROLEUM PRODUCTS) AMENDMENT BILL
MOTOR VEHICLES TAXATION (AMENDMENT) BILL
ROAD IMPROVEMENT (SPECIAL FUNDING) AMENDMENT BILL
Debate resumed from 8th September.
(Lismore) [8.10]: I am pleased to be able to speak in support of the Appropriation Bill and the cognate bills presented by the New South Wales Treasurer. This Budget will reduce State debt and continue to expand State services. It is a sensible and sensitive Budget that will give special help to those in need. It is a Budget that displays responsible economic management. It is a Budget that, by reducing debt and insisting on improved performances from government trading enterprises, keeps down taxes and charges. The 1992-93 Budget resulted in a deficit of just under $1 billion. This year's Budget will reduce the deficit to $890 million. The deficit is expected to be reduced to $600 million in 1995-96 and to be reduced further in following years.
This debt control provides for the welfare of our children and future generations and is a model that other governments in Australia could well follow. As the Treasurer said in his Budget Speech, the planned reduction of New South Wales debt goes hand-in-hand with other strategies: tax restraint; the gaining of better value for money; the reform of government trading enterprises; and clearer priorities for government services. Those services are extremely important to the people of New South Wales, and especially to the people of my electorate of Lismore. They have been enhanced and improved by the Budget. Recurrent expenditure on law and order and public safety has been increased by 4.2 per cent, providing a grand total of $1,829.3 million.
The people of the Lismore electorate welcome this recognition of the special difficulties society faces in these recessionary times. Desperation and stress
cause greater social problems. Crimes against property and individuals and drug abuse crimes increase in recessionary times, putting even more stress on our police and court services. These problems are evident in a very beautiful area centred on the town of Nimbin, where drug-related deaths per capita are higher than in any other area of New South Wales, except possibly in centres such as Kings Cross. There the police especially need the support of additional services and resources, which the increase of 4.2 per cent in expenditure will help to provide.
I am pleased that $1.8 million has been allocated in this Budget to commence the construction of much needed courtrooms at Lismore. The $5 million structure is expected to be commenced immediately and to be completed by 1995. The courtrooms will help to provide an improved service and reduce court waiting times. The land on which the building will be located, alongside the present court house, has already been purchased and cleared. Though the work of police is important, it is even more important to try to reduce crime through the provision of social and community services. These come under the administration of the Hon. Jim Longley, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. The 6.3 per cent increase in funding for social and community services, to $1,175.2 million, will ensure this important work will be continued and expanded.
Funding for social and community services falls into 11 broad categories: community support services, $301.3 million; supported accommodation for people with disabilities, $174.9 million; crisis support and accommodation, $81.1 million; child care, $78.2 million; substitute care, $64.6 million; support for families, $56.8 million; child abuse, $33.7 million; corporate services, $24 million; protection, guardianship and advocacy, $3.7 million; concessions to pensioners, $282.3 million; and other agencies, $20.5 million. As there is tremendous need to expand services, especially for the disabled and disadvantaged in the Lismore electorate, I welcome this increase in expenditure. Money provided for health services has increased by 7 per cent to $4,940.7 million, with the Richmond River District Health Service receiving a record allocation of $101.54 million. That is a 23.01 per cent increase in real terms since I was elected as a member of this House in 1988 and includes funds to help reduce elective surgery waiting lists, as well as $2.6 million that will go towards the completion of stage four of the redevelopment of Lismore Base Hospital.
The redevelopment of the Lismore Base Hospital, due for completion by December 1994, will give the Richmond Valley a network of 11 hospitals that will be able to provide excellent services to the expanding population in the Lismore and Ballina electorates. Once again funds for education have been increased in this Budget by 4 per cent, to $4,894.5 million. This will enable the commencement of stage one of the new school at Nimbin that is expected to be completed in 1995 at a total cost of $2.99 million. Funds have been allocated also for painting and repairs at Casino High School, Goolmangar Public School, Goonellabah Public School, Kadina High School, Kyogle High School, Leeville Public School, Lismore High School and Rappville Public School.
The Lismore electorate will benefit also from the $1.091 million allocated for maintenance funding for the North Coast Institute of Technical and Further Education. The other exciting development in education in the Lismore electorate will be the establishment of the stand-alone university in Lismore. Everyone awaits with great interest the announcement of the name of the new university. All the educational services in the Lismore electorate will continue to be provided and maintained so that the region has the resources it deserves - in stark contrast with what happened under the former Labor administration.
The provision of housing is extremely important in an area with a fast growing population, so the 2.7 per cent increase in capital funding and the 38.2 per cent increase in recurrent funding, bringing the total provided for New South Wales housing, water and sewerage to $1,711.2 million, is important to the far North Coast. The funding to complete construction of 51 units of accommodation in Lismore, Casino, Coraki and Nimbin, for work on the Kyogle and Nimbin sewerage systems and for the Nimbin water supply will continue to enhance the reputation of the Lismore electorate as the most desirable residential address in New South Wales, and indeed in Australia.
Roads are of vital importance to the people of country areas and were neglected by the former New South Wales State Labor Government. Funding for roads was drastically cut by Paul Keating's Federal Labor Government. The far North Coast of New South Wales was neglected by the road planners of previous Labor governments, making the comparison between roads in southern Queensland and roads in northern New South Wales unfavourable to this State.
Good roads to Brisbane and to the Gold Coast are tremendously important to our industries. The money provided for the Summerland Way, which is the shortest route between Sydney and Brisbane, for the Kyogle to Murwillumbah road, which is the shortest route from Sydney to the Gold Coast, for the Lismore to Nimbin road and for the Bruxner Highway through Goonellabah is extremely valuable. The $1.624 million allocated to start work on that Bruxner Highway section from Lombardos roundabout to Kadina High School is sorely needed. A four-lane divided highway ends at a roundabout, at which there is a single-lane road running either way that is in a sad state of disrepair. That piece of road, a deteriorating narrow carriageway, carries in excess of 20,000 vehicles a day and is very important for both commuter and commercial traffic. At last the roads of the Lismore electorate are being improved and will continue to be improved until the appropriate roadway standard is achieved.
I congratulate the Hon. Bruce Baird on the great work he is doing as Minister for Roads. This responsible allocation will greatly help the people of
the Lismore electorate to obtain the high quality roads they deserve. Numerous other special provisions have been made in the Budget for the Lismore electorate, including $267,000 for the continued development of electric power. Because the area is growing so quickly, demand for electricity requires that major power lines into the area be upgraded. Those funds will be spent in three main areas: the Armidale to Lismore line, which is gradually being improved and upgraded; around the Lismore area itself; and the area from Lismore to Mullumbimby. Each of those lines are multimillion dollar projects. The Armidale to Lismore line is well on the way towards being constructed. [Extension of time agreed to
The Lismore to Mullumbimby line is currently in the planning stage and consultation is taking place with people in that area. The allocation of $267,000 this year towards that multimillion dollar project may seem to be small, but it is adequate for what is needed and will be most helpful. An amount of $261,000 is being provided for the relocation of the Richmond-Tweed State Emergency Service headquarters. Currently those headquarters are right beside Lismore police station, on the banks of the Wilson River. The growing population means that the police station in Lismore will have to be expanded. The SES headquarters are being taken over by the police, and new headquarters are being provided for the SES in Goonellabah. Those headquarters will be just across the border from the Lismore electorate in the Ballina electorate. I will have the support of the honourable member for Ballina in ensuring that those important headquarters are fitted out to the benefit of all people in the region.
A sum of $120,000 has been provided for improvements to Casino railway station. The exterior of the railway station has just been rebuilt. The station has new parking areas, new bus bays and a fully constructed bus interchange. The booking office has been upgraded. Full commuter systems have been put in, and the office is able to provide top quality service to the people of the region. These funds will be provided to enable the platform, which was of suitable level for the old trains, to be raised. Line modernisation and improvement through that area has lifted the line slightly. Because the XPT is slightly higher than the older trains the platform is to be raised as well so that people will be able to step straight out - not down - from the XPT on to the platform. Those funds will be welcome at Casino.
Coraki is another very historic town in the Lismore electorate. For many years around the turn of the century Coraki, situated on a branch of the Richmond and Wilson rivers, was one of the biggest towns on the North Coast and the centre of the grazing and shipping industries, with many boats coming and going. But in recent years the shipping trade has declined and the wharf at Coraki has deteriorated and become quite unsafe. The Budget has allocated $11,000 towards the continued construction of the Coraki wharf, upon which work has already commenced. That $11,000 will benefit this joint project between the Richmond River Shire Council and the New South Wales State Government.
An amount of $80,000 will be provided for blue-green algae research and control in the Richmond Valley. Toonumbar Dam on the Richmond River has had a problem with blue-green algae, and that is rather puzzling because the catchment area of that dam does not have a town or many houses above it, virtually no agricultural industry, and is almost completely covered by rainforest and State forests. People in that area cannot claim that the dam is polluted by run-off from a town, from fertilisers or anything else, yet the problem has arisen during dry periods. This rather interesting project will seek to establish exactly why blue-green algae is growing in that dam and determine ways and means of controlling it. That part of the electorate is one of the fastest growing population areas in the State. Consequently, Rocky Creek Dam, Toonumbar Dam and perhaps other dams which might be constructed in the future will need to provide good clean water. That research, funded through the $80,000 allocation, will be of great value to people in that area for many years to come.
The people of the Lismore electorate and indeed people throughout New South Wales will benefit from budget strategy. The central issue had to be to contain debt. Anyone who suggests otherwise would be deluding the people of New South Wales. A responsible long-term approach has been taken to debt reduction, and that will reduce ill effects on the community and avoid tax increases. Commonsense priorities have been set for spending on health, housing, education, roads, law and order, community services, employment and training. Responsible members of Parliament will support the Budget to ensure a stable and prosperous future for all citizens and their children. All Government members join with me in congratulating the Hon. Peter Collins, the New South Wales Treasurer, on the work he has done. I support the Budget.
(Burrinjuck) [8.29]: The Budget is most responsible and is ideal for these times. The Budget is an indication of the sensible approach taken by the new Treasurer to the needs of the community generally, more particularly to the needs of the community in rural sectors, and more specifically to the needs of rural people in the Burrinjuck electorate, which I represent. The health budget received a significant boost, as announced by the Treasurer, to a record $5.25 billion. That increase is an acknowledgment of the magnificent contribution by the Minister for Health, the Hon. Ron Phillips.
My electorate encompasses part of the Riverina and its budget has increased by $18.72 million over the 1988 figures. That represents a 23.7 per cent increase in real terms. The Southern Tablelands, which is also partially represented in the Burrinjuck electorate, has received an increase of 19.67 per cent in real terms over the 1988 Budget figures, or $17.93 million. The new district health boards will achieve significant savings because the Government undertook to phase out regional departments of health. This will result in a significant contribution to all district and base hospitals in the Burrinjuck electorate. That is
ample proof that the Minister for Health is ensuring that the health budget dollar is delivered in its entirety to the coalface of health, that is, to the patients.
The Minister for Public Works, the Hon. Ian Armstrong, has identified the need to upgrade sewerage works in small rural towns. Water supply augmentation also has been undertaken. The Tumut sewerage works has been allocated $500,000 to assist the Tumut Council with the construction of the Tumut sewerage augmentation scheme. I thank the Minister for that funding. It is important in this environmentally sensitive climate that people in rural New South Wales have the opportunity to process raw sewage to a level where it can be utilised more constructively without harming the environment.
The Crookwell sewerage augmentation scheme has received $1.1 million to assist the council in its augmentation of the Crookwell sewerage system. I am extremely grateful for that, and I am sure the Crookwell community also is appreciative of the Minister's endeavour to assist them to upgrade the sewage treatment plant. Many towns have had difficulty supplying sufficient water during very dry periods - something we take for granted from time to time. The Minister has allocated $593,000 to assist the Boorowa Council to complete its augmentation work and ensure that the Boorowa water supply system meets the needs of ratepayers in the area.
The Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, the Hon. Virginia Chadwick, has listened sympathetically to my submissions with regard to the Berrinba Public School at Yass. That school has many demountable units and has been waiting patiently for at least 15 years for them to be replaced with permanent buildings. The Minister has allocated $1.7 million to ensure that those demountables are replaced. On behalf of the Yass community, in particular, the parents and citizens association, and the parents and teachers, I thank the Minister for her magnificent contribution to the education of children in the Burrinjuck electorate. The Minister has approved maintenance programs for schools in my electorate. For example, $200,000 will be spent on maintenance of the Young Technology High School, the first technology high school in rural New South Wales. That high school is gaining a reputation for turning out highly skilled pupils. I commend the Minister for her vision in recognising that rural children should receive the same opportunities as those taken for granted by children in metropolitan areas.
From time to time the Minister gets peeved at my continual niggling for additional funding. However, she recognises the importance of looking after schools, especially those small isolated schools in the hills around Gundagai, Tumut and the beautiful Kosciusko area in the southwest. Funds have been made available also for upgrading and maintaining schools that are administered by single teachers who are committed to the task of educating children. I refer in particular to Bongongo Public School, Gadara Public School, Rye Park Public School, Galong Public School, Stockinbingal Public School, Wee Jasper Public School and Young Public School, which all require an injection of funds to ensure that they present a professional image and provide staff with a professional environment in which to work.
The Government has committed itself to funding structural maintenance requirements that have been long ignored and, on many occasions, pushed aside. Recently, on behalf of the Minister, I opened a new administration block at the Boorowa Central School, a magnificent school that is using technology to cater for pupils from kindergarten through to year 12. Satellite technology and language subjects are available to those children. They are being taught to speak fluently in French, Indonesian and Japanese. I congratulate the school upon its initiative. The teachers do not receive the recognition they deserve for their professional attitude in ensuring that rural children receive a sound education.
The provision of solar navigation lights on dams has been acknowledged by the Minister for Public Works and Minister for Ports. Burrinjuck Dam and the great Blowering Dam - upon which a few years ago the world's water speed record was set - are situated in my electorate. I am grateful that the Minister recognises that for accidents to be avoided, navigation aids are necessary. With regard to housing, my parliamentary colleague the Hon. Robert Webster, has seen fit to answer my plea for additional units of Department of Housing accommodation. I thank the Minister for his magnificent contribution to the elderly and those desperately in need of housing in my electorate. At Cootamundra seven units, at a cost of $220,000, will be provided. Though this is a minuscule amount in terms of the overall Budget, it is very much appreciated by my constituents. The Minister has seen fit also to allocate to the Tumut community 13 units of accommodation at a cost of $700,000-odd. I admire him for his vision. Young township will receive two further units of accommodation. If that Minister continues to show such initiative, he will be a Minister in this Government for a long time.
A rewarding aspect of being the member for Burrinjuck is the diversity of horticultural and agricultural products grown in the area. Young is the capital of Australia's cherry industry. Tumut produces the radiata pine used to build houses, among other things. Ministers would be well aware of the magnificent contribution people in my electorate make to the economy of New South Wales. At Batlow $42,000 has been provided for the replacement of tools and equipment for the Forestry Commission. That may be a small amount but it is appreciated as a recognition of the people in the area. The Batlow community is facing problems because of a local cannery, which has connections to the Letona cannery at Leeton. The cannery at Batlow has operated professionally and profitably for five years. A wise investor could take over the plant, improve its efficiency and provide local employment and thereby increase the economic viability of the town.
Nursery plant and equipment to grow pine seedlings has been purchased at a cost of $216,000, and $1.08 million has been provided for the capitalisation of overheads for softwood regional growing stock. An amount of $1.27 million has been provided for the surveying and construction of road and bridges to service the pine forests in the area. Another $1.9 million will be provided over the next 15 years for culture and forestry improvement in pre-commercial plantations. The Minister has vision: he can see that there will be a demand for softwood production in the Burrinjuck electorate, and that will assist to drag the country out of the recession that the vandals of the Federal Labor Party have created in their 10 years in government. The present leader, Mr U-turn Keating, quickly back pedalled when he saw the reaction of the general public to his deplorable and immoral Budget.
I turn now to Mr Nice Guy, Can Do Baird, the Minister for Transport and Minister for Roads. What a magnificent contribution that man has made in my electorate. He has provided new rail coach interchanges. He has worked towards the federation of Australian rail services. He has reviewed signalling, laid new track and injected $525,000 for ballast so that super freighters can use the track. He is just Mr Nice Guy. I cannot describe him in any other way. He has injected $164 million into the Burrinjuck electorate. My colleague the honourable member for Monaro knows the reason for that injection of funds: the Hume Highway runs through the eastern side of the electorate, from Goulburn to Tarcutta. The honourable member for Monaro and I inspected the highway. We saw the speeding trucks. Deaths have occurred on that stretch because of the state of the highway. Around the Gunning area in one year there were many road deaths.
There were 26 in eight months.
Yes. The honourable member pushed vigorously for the Federal Government to provide money to stop the carnage that was occurring daily in the electorates of Monaro and Burrinjuck. Fortunately, the Federal Government heard the pleas of responsible members of the New South Wales Parliament and, in response to their pressure, provided funding. [Extension of time agreed to.
I may begrudge giving kudos to the Federal Government but if we do not give kudos to the Federal Government for saving lives we are not fair dinkum, and we have to be fair dinkum in this game. For example, construction of the dual carriageway south of Jugiong has been allocated $22 million in this year's Budget. I thank the Federal Government for that. Construction of a dual carriageway on the Barton Highway will receive $19 million. The honourable member for Monaro would be pleased about that because spending on the Barton Highway complements spending on the Yass bypass. The population of the town of Yass in the next 10 years will be boosted, I hope, to about 50,000. I thank the Federal Minister for spending approximately $132 million of $164 million in those areas. He has acted responsibly in the interests of road safety.
Labor ignored the road needs of rural people for 10 years. In 1988 the coalition inherited rural roads which were built 15 to 20 years ago to take traffic at half the present volume and of half the present weight. Maintenance cannot keep pace with the destruction of rural roads. The State Government has a 3c per litre petrol excise and another 3c is taken under the 3 x 3 program - 3c a litre for three years. The program was needed for a quick injection of funds for roads that were in a deplorable state. No one knows better than I do the state of rural roads in 1988. Since December I have had to replace two windscreens in my car because one shire in my electorate did not responsibly use the money it was allocated in September last year. I hope that council will wake up that it is in the interest of road safety that it use the funds.
The responsible, can do Minister has allocated $2.1 million for the restoration of major arterial roads in the Burrinjuck electorate. The Minister has allocated for the councils in the area, for their determined works on public roads, $692,000. The Minister has allocated $1.6 million for the enhancement of major arterial roads under the 3 x 3 program, and $1.2 million for council proposed works on classified roads. That amounts to $5.65 million of 3 x 3 funding going where it is supposed to go, into bad roads that need a quick injection of funds to make them safe for the motorists who drive through the electorate of Burrinjuck and for the people who live in the Burrinjuck electorate and use those roads.
The Minister did not stop there. He made sure that there were more funds allocated to the shires for enhancement, restoration and preservation of State and regional roads and he also gave them regional road block grants. I represent 11 shires in the electorate of Burrinjuck covering an area of slightly more than 23,000 square kilometres. How is that $7.1 million broken down? Boorowa shire received $822,000; Crookwell shire received $906,000; and Cootamundra shire, where I live, received $860,000, and so on. That is a magnificent contribution by that Minister, another responsible member of this very responsible and professionally managed Government.
The Minister for Land and Water Conservation has funded community based natural resource management projects to the tune of $79,000. Under the National LandCare program, projects for dry land salinity water use in the Upper Lachlan-Murrumbidgee catchment surrounding the Yass area - much needed funding - amounted to more than $141,000. I thank the Hon. George Souris for the magnificent contribution he has made as the new Minister in this Government, complementing the initiatives taken by his parliamentary and Cabinet Ministers. This Minister has a grasp on his new portfolio and has used it very sensibly. Under the national LandCare program the Minister has funded the mapping of saline susceptible soils.
People living in the metropolitan area may not realise the problems encountered in rural New South Wales regarding soil degradation, soil salinity and
rising water tables. Rural people have massive problems with water tables rising to six inches below the surface of the land which is to be farmed. As an example, in the township of Boorowa one can see on the brickwork of some houses stains from the salt that has been forced up from the subterranean soil to as high as 10 bricks from ground level. That salination devastates the land and the salt kills everything it settles on.
This Government needs to seriously address these problems so that the land will be very productive for our children and their children in the years to come. The Government needs to look at the problems that we created in our ignorance 100 and 200 years ago, and even as early as a decade ago. Thankfully, the rural community has recognised that. Regardless of what the mad environmentalists and the greens say about locking up land, we rural people recognise that we have abused the environment and we are addressing the problem. Rural people are changing their farming habits and are now planting trees. I know of one grazier who, in the last 12 months, has planted about 37,000 trees on his property. That is an indication of the concern that rural people have about rising water tables.
The National LandCare program, because of river salinity catchment problems, has injected $170,000 into the Boorowa area. I would love to see $1.3 million allocated for that area, but I am realistic enough to know that that cannot reasonably be expected without borrowing money. This Government, unlike the Leader of the Opposition, has attempted to reduce its debt and has attempted to constrain its borrowings, trying to keep them at zero level. One cannot responsibly expect to help this State get back on its feet and help the economy of this country by continuing to borrow money. It is easy to make brash promises in the public arena without explaining to the people where the money is coming from and how much money needs to be borrowed and how long it will take to pay it back. The Government knew about that when it came to government in 1988. The Minister for Land and Water Conservation is a great Minister. I hope other honourable members have been treated by the Minister as well as I have.
What a good Minister.
He sure is. He has given me $25,000 in funding for the conservation catchment project at Breakfast Creek. Good on you, Minister! The Minister for Transport and Minister for Roads has given my electorate money for rural coach services, local commuter services in Yass, which covers four locations along the Barton Highway. The Minister has done a top job there and has my total support. As the member for Burrinjuck I am humbled at the way in which Ministers have treated me, as a relatively new member, in terms of my experience in politics. I am happy to say that one must lean gently on these Ministers. The honourable member for Monaro knows about pushing the leaning process; he is an expert at it. He knows that if Ministers are gently leaned on they will come good with the goodies. The Ministers have done that with this Budget and I have absolutely no doubt that they will come good with the goodies in years to come.
I thank the House for the opportunity of talking tonight about the magnificent contribution that this Government is making to New South Wales. I know that Mr Acting-Speaker agrees with me that there are a lot of intelligent people in New South Wales who, when we come to election in 1995, will look at the Opposition and look at this Government's performance and ask, "How could we have another Labor Government in this State after what we have put up with from the Federal Government. We really have to put this Government back in, but when we put them back in we will give them a majority of at least six or seven seats and we will make sure that the non-aligned Independents, the so-called unelected premier and his associates on the independent benches here, do not keep the power that they have". The voters in New South Wales will deal with the arrogance of the Independents so that the New South Wales Government can get on with managing the economy of this State as responsibly as it has done since 1988.
I would like to say a few things about the Independents, but I do not believe it appropriate to talk about their double standards during the budget session. I will do that later. I will now tell the House about the Independents putting pressure on this Government to have extra staff when no other member of this Parliament, not even members on the opposite side of the Parliament, have additional staff. The Independents use the pretence that they are getting a lot of pressure from the community which generates a lot more work. Let me inform the House that if the Independents worked in their electorates as hard as some members in the Liberal sector they would need five or six staff. I compliment the Government on the responsible way it has delivered the Budget. [Time expired.
(Gosford - Minister for the Environment) [8.59]: I am very proud to serve as a Minister in the Fahey Government and I am determined to contribute to further improving the protection of the environment in our State. When I was elected as a member of Parliament in 1988 I had one major aim in mind - helping the people of my community, the electorate of Gosford. For years under Labor governments Gosford and the Central Coast were, unfortunately, treated like second-class citizens, always appearing somewhere near the end of the queue when it came time to parcel out the budget cake. This was compounded by the blind eye and deaf ear that Labor in Canberra turned to the Central Coast. Since 1988 it has been my main goal to change that attitude and to get a fair share for the people of Gosford. I remind myself of that goal every day.
Indeed, when I initially entered Parliament in 1988, Labor's legacy was evident wherever one looked at Gosford and generally at the Central Coast - run-down services, literally crumbling roads, a virtual goat track as the entry to Gosford, an archaic
health system, and a lack of schools in a growth area. Thanks to the Labor mates who were more concerned with getting their names on the plaques of flashy megaprojects in the Sydney CBD, even that most basic and most necessary of services - the sewerage system - did not work. With the help of my colleagues in the coalition Government, I have addressed each of those needs, trying to fix what Labor only promised and never delivered.
I am pleased that the 1993-1994 Budget is another important step towards providing for the people of Gosford and the Central Coast first-rate services, improved roads, high quality health care, and better and more schools. The Government has taken great strides in the past and the Budget represents more significant progress toward redressing Labor's wrongs. It may take a while to fix Labor's mess, but I am determined to get the job done. Several areas of priority were identified for the Budget by myself and some people in my community. Health care has always featured prominently on my list, but more so this year as the Central Coast becomes an increasingly popular place of residence - and the Government has done very well.
The Central Coast Area Health Service has been allocated a record $136.68 million, representing an increase of $54.66 million since 1988 - the largest such increase in the State. I am particularly pleased that $350,000 of that allocation will be used for community based health initiatives and mental health programs, which are areas of real need. Significant gains have also been made in education. In relation to capital works in new allocations at Gosford schools, Brisbania Public School will receive $10,000; Erina High School, $270,000; Erina Heights Public School, $10,000; Gosford East Public School, $80,000; and Terrigal High School, $5,000; Woodport Public School will receive $57,000 and Empire Bay Public School $69,000 for ongoing capital works assistance.
These allocations are a significant recognition by the Government of the growing needs in the Gosford electorate. Schools in the electorates of Peats, Wyong and The Entrance also did well in the Budget, which demonstrates that this Government is about progress and people - not cheap politics like the Labor Party. The Government is concerned about giving all kids a future, not just the ones who live in this electorate or that electorate. An exciting new initiative on the Central Coast in the 1993-1994 Budget is a $100,000 regional marketing grant for Central Coast tourism. Thanks to the recession we had to have, given to us by the Federal Government, alarming levels of unemployment have now been reached on the Central Coast. This Government is determined to reduce unemployment by assisting the growing tourism sectors - one of the best job producers in our area.
The Gosford and Central Coast communities will benefit also from the newly announced $13.1 million statewide tourism advertising strategy. This has been discussed with members of the Gosford Chamber of Commerce and Industry and I hope some of that money will boost their businesses and help them employ more local residents. The Budget also continues the Government's strong commitment to provide better transport for the Central Coast. Tomorrow I will have the honour to officially open the new Gosford railway station with my colleague the Minister for Transport. Thanks to our active local Rotary club, on Saturday the entire community will welcome the opening of the new station.
The Minister for Transport and I will cut the ribbon at the exact spot where he and I stood some years ago and promised a new railway station for the people of Gosford and the Central Coast. The Government has delivered that promise. The Government has also recently announced the release of new Tangara trains. A further $1 million will be spent this year finalising the railway station, and $610,000 will be spent on associated railway works. In the meantime, the Australian Labor Party criticises the design of the railway station for not providing appropriate lifts, though Debbie Coleman and the local disability council have given the station the thumbs up as the first easy access railway station for New South Wales. It just shows that the coalition members are the builders and ALP members are the knockers.
Commuting to Sydney, Newcastle and elsewhere or visiting the coast will be further improved with the completion of the bus interchange outside the new railway station at a cost of $205,000, as well as the completion of the new CBD car park facility at a cost of $860,000. I mentioned earlier that when I was elected a member of Parliament the sewers in my electorate did not work - that is, for those who were lucky enough to have them. The Government has changed that predicament and continues to build a better sewerage system. The Minister for Public Works and I have worked together to deliver a further $700,000 this year for the Gosford sewerage scheme, including the upgrade of the Kincumber plant and pump station. The Kincumber plant is a first-class facility for sewage treatment, which ensures we not only have an excellent sewerage system but we have magnificent beaches and high water quality. This was an important win for a growing community.
The Central Coast will also benefit from the Government's enhanced commitments for the provision of child care, family support, and services for the aged. The Gosford electorate will certainly benefit from the statewide increase of more than 14 per cent for community services. Many residents on the coast are hurting because of the inadequacies of Labor, but the Government will not sit idly by. My constituents, as well as the leaders of the local senior citizens community, Anne Reynolds at Terrigal and Eleanor Allen at Gosford, will be particularly interested in the programs for senior citizens. I am proud to point out that the unique and fragile environment of the Central Coast is being looked after by the Government. Honourable members may be aware that my first public political act was working on a nature conservation issue on the Central Coast. Together with my colleagues, I proudly continue to do that.
For example, through the Public Works Department $90,000 will be spent on foreshore erosion control at Davistown, Koolewong and Woy Woy, including the construction of sandstone sea walls and rock armouring at those three locations. This will further enhance public access as well as stopping further degradation. A coastal study will be conducted from Forrester's Beach to MacMaster's Beach at a cost of $75,000. This is an important first step in developing a coastal management plan for this fragile stretch of coastline. As part of its 1993-1994 environmental trust grants program, the Environment Protection Authority will give a number of grants in Gosford totalling more than $91,000, including $1,800 for Chertsy Public School's earth recycling program, $14,000 for a nature trail at Gwandalan Public School, $17,000 for Rumbalara Field Studies Centre and $44,000 for Gosford Council to help manage the valuable coastal open space system.
I am sure that these groups will use the funds to improve our environment, which, after all, is our collective responsibility. Our goals will only be achieved through a community based project where everyone works together. All of this money comes from the unique polluter pays system instituted by this Government. Earlier this year, after much work with people in the local environmental movement such as Andrew Sourry, Allan Strom and Gwen Parry-Jones, I also had the pleasure of announcing a new national park on the Central Coast, Popran, as well as a new nature reserve, Ourimbah. In the Budget, the Government has maintained its funding commitment to national parks on the Central Coast and elsewhere. I note with pleasure that yet again the Government's expenditure on the environment has increased in comparison to the days when the Leader of the Opposition, as Minister for Planning and Environment, cut the budget of the State Pollution Control Commission and sacked staff.
Finally I would like to discuss roads in Gosford. I am proud to have worked for more than five years on this vital issue. Not long ago I lent my strong support to a roads summit on the Central Coast which identified the problems with roads. I stated that I would be working hard in this regard, particularly on Avoca Drive and the Donnison Street bridge flyover. My constituents have seen me inspecting roads sites with representatives of groups like the Avoca Drive Action Committee, whose active chairwoman is Robyn Minogue, or the Erina Progress Association, whose dynamic president is Anne Howe. This process is yielding results, although there is a long way to go to make up for the years of neglect by Labor.
When it comes to Central Coast roads the Fahey Government and the member for Gosford mean business, spending a now confirmed sum of nearly $40 million this year alone, including $2.5 million for the construction of the Donnison Street bridge. Funding for the project will continue through until 1997. It should be noted that although the then New South Wales Minister for Roads, Laurie Brereton, promised a Donnison Street bridge in the mid-1980s, it took this Government to make sure it will finally be built. An amount of $964,000 has been allocated for the reconstruction and widening of Avoca Drive from The Entrance Road, Erina, to Kincumber. Funding for this project will continue through until 1999. I am determined to make sure that community consultation takes place on this project, especially to ensure pedestrian safety for schoolchildren in the Kincumber area.
Other allocations include $800,000 for improvements to the Pacific Highway; $7,713,760 for improvements to, and further construction of, the F3 Freeway; $446,000 for improved access from side streets to the Pacific Highway at Kariong; $1.484 million for other traffic facilities on the Central Coast; $6,881,090 for road preservation and other works; $1,276,750 for local government road improvements and $268,000 for minor works on the Central Coast. The Government is also committed to the re-opening of the Pacific Highway at Cheero Point. I am delighted, together with community campaigners like Jim Lloyd, that the Minister for Transport and Minister for Roads has today signalled that work on that project will commence shortly. Let us hope the Federal Government will now meet its responsibility and pay its fair share of the costs.
The State Government has made a big commitment to restoring the land slip at Cheero Point. It has earmarked $2.3 million in funding in this year's Budget for the project. However, the Federal Government must now contribute $1 million. I am optimistic that the Hon. Frank Walker, the Federal Member for Robertson and Special Minister of State, will now renew his campaign to have the Federal Government meet its commitments. I also take this, my first public opportunity, to congratulate Frank on his promotion to the Federal ministry. Unlike many of his State counterparts, Frank shares with me the belief that people come before politics, and I am pleased to work with him for the benefit of the Central Coast. Finally in relation to roads I want to re-affirm in this Chamber that my campaign to improve Central Coast roads will not rest on its laurels. There is still a long way to go and, together with the local community, I intend to do the hard work to get what we want. That may not always win me headlines, but clearly, as proved by this year's Budget, my efforts are on the right track. I will leave the stunts and cheap shots to others and get on with the job of fixing what was left wrong for too long under Labor. Indeed, I am optimistic that in 1993-94 I will secure further commitments to Central Coast roads.
This Budget, the first budget introduced by the Hon. Peter Collins, is about fairness, equity and common sense. I am pleased that it is more than fair for the people of Gosford and the Central Coast. I believe they have come out big winners at every level of major Government expenditure. They have come out big winners in all aspects of State government on the Central Coast. All people on the Central Coast have come out big winners, be they in the electorate, which I am proud to represent, or in the electorates of
Wyong, Peats and The Entrance, which are temporarily represented by Labor members. Under this Budget more than $200 million has come the way of the people of the Central Coast to ensure that appropriate infrastructure and services are put in place.
This is the budget of a caring and responsible Government. This is the budget of a Government committed, despite the recession, to ensuring the best possible deal for the citizens of the Central Coast and the people of New South Wales. The Government has been fiscally responsible but has brought home the bacon. The Government has shown, through its budgetary process, that it can not only preserve the State's triple-A rating and look after the management of the State's deficit, but it can also provide the necessary infrastructure for all citizens of the State. As a Minister, I am proud to have played a part in the formulation of the Budget. As a member, I am proud to acknowledge the contribution the Budget has made to my electorate and to my constituents. The Fahey Government has shown its determination to acknowledge its responsibility to the people of this State. I am proud, as are my colleagues, to be part of it. I support the Budget.
(Vaucluse) [9.17]: I support the Budget brought down by the Hon. Peter Collins. I should like to address various aspects of that Budget that relate to the electorate of Vaucluse. The New South Wales Budget has continued sound economic management and shown a preparedness to continue the strategy of microeconomic reform, of exercising restraint in government expenditure, and of adhering to the principle that the Government will not deficit fund its activities for the State of New South Wales. Honourable members will remember the election of the Greiner Government in 1988 and the principles that were established through the Commission of Audit chaired by Mr Charles Curran.
It is clear that despite the burden of the recession and the limited and decreasing funding from Canberra, the Government has been prepared to abide by those important principles of economic management, which are predicated on ensuring that we do not spend more than we receive. If that is the driving principle behind economic management, it augers well for the future of the State of New South Wales. A little later I will refer to some of the more broadly based economic issues that relate to the State of New South Wales. However, before doing so I want to deal with some matters that relate particularly to the electorate of Vaucluse.
Nothing is more important to the Vaucluse electorate than the renaissance of the Bondi Beach precinct. That renaissance, of course, goes hand in hand with a commitment to ensuring that the water at Bondi Beach is clean. Honourable members now realise what their former colleague and former Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Tim Moore, referred to as the removal of the brown scar at Bondi. That has resulted from a preparedness to utilise large amounts of money to ensure adequate sewage treatment. In this year's Budget the Water Board has continued to apply funds to the Bondi sewage treatment plant controls upgrade and the Diamond Bay-Vaucluse ocean outfall diversion scheme. That scheme will be a major, and in many respects final, diversion to make sure that raw and untreated sewage discharged from the Diamond Bay-Vaucluse ocean outfall is diverted through a tunnel project and linked into the Bondi outfall.
The Budget provides an initial allocation of $500,000 for the Diamond Bay-Vaucluse ocean outfall, against a total commitment of $10.5 million to ensure that the all important diversion scheme is built. It also provides allocations for other important works this year totalling $8.3 million, including the Bondi sewage treatment plant automated sludge withdrawal at a cost of $450,000, and the Bondi sewage treatment plant interim chemical assisted sedimentation scheme at a cost of $1.5 million. These are all vital components in ensuring that the water at Bondi is clean. It is but an illustration of how the Water Board is ensuring that our coastline and waterways are clean, which is nothing less than what the people of Sydney expect and deserve.
An important stage has been reached for the future of Bondi. I think it is fair to say that over the decades Bondi has been studied to death. Various proposals have been made relating to the entire Bondi precinct from headland to headland, with a particular emphasis on the park, the pavilion and Campbell Parade. I hope that next year's Budget will provide a meaningful allocation to achieve the renaissance of Bondi. People are often keen to distort what that actually means; that it means the redevelopment of Bondi. I do not think anyone wants to see the redevelopment of Bondi. That debate was had eight years ago when the ill-founded notion of Camelot by the sea was put forward and was rejected not only by the local residents, but also by those who want Bondi to be nurtured as a world-famous tourist precinct and as an important commercial hub of the eastern suburbs.
I think the word renaissance is appropriate to describe the refurbishment of the magnificent main street of Campbell Parade, with its outstanding art deco facade buildings that date back to the first decade of the century. We want to ensure that that facade is preserved and enhanced. On this occasion I give some credit to Waverley Council for the final report that was recently brought down in relation to Campbell Parade, a proper local area traffic management scheme for Campbell Parade to get rid of what is appropriately described as the shamble parade appearance. I hope that is something we can look forward to in the next Budget.
It should also be pointed out that in the lead-up to the Federal election, the Federal Minister for the Environment embarked upon what could only be described as an extraordinary huffing and puffing exercise, saying that the Federal Government would weigh in with funding to assist with the renaissance of Bondi. As one might expect, that is all it was -
huffing and puffing. Not a cent of Federal Government money has been received, nor has there been any indication that it will be. It is up to the State Government and Waverley Council to knock on the door of the Federal Minister for the Environment so that she ensures that the Federal Government comes good with an appropriate level of funding so that the burden is shared among local government, State Government and Federal Government in relation to what is, after all, a world-famous precinct - Bondi and Bondi Beach.
Recently I put to the Minister for Planning a proposal to establish a section 22 committee, which is something that was done some years ago under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. I think that may be an appropriate mechanism to bring together representatives from various levels of government, as well as of the community, to ensure that plans for Bondi are put forward in a constructive way, and to get people around the table seeking consensus on what needs to be done. It has been talked about for a long, long time and it is an ideal worth aiming for. It is something I am very keen to contribute to ever since I have been the member for Vaucluse.
It is also significant to point out that the Budget provides an allocation, through the Minister for Public Works, for coastal management works at Bondi Beach and Rose Bay totalling $93,000, $85,000 of which will go towards completing the $440,000 four-stage works for the Bondi seawall stabilisation project in front of the North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club - to be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by Waverley Council. A further $16,000 will be spent restoring the Lion Park seawall, with Woollahra Council matching the Government's allocation on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The work at Lion Park involves rehabilitating and restructuring the seawall to enhance the stability and beauty of the sandstone, which protects one of the most picturesque public waterfronts on Sydney Harbour.
I refer also to the Budget's significant health care allocation for the eastern suburbs, and particularly for the Vaucluse electorate. It is significant that the health budget has increased to a record $5.2 billion, which will significantly benefit the residents of the eastern suburbs. The Budget allocation for the Eastern Area Health Service, under the able chairmanship of Mr John Walton, is $452.9 million, including planning money of $500,000 to commence the relocation of the Royal Hospital for Women to Randwick. The people of New South Wales will benefit from the extra money that the coalition Government is pouring into health and it is worth pointing out that it is doing so despite the worst recession for many decades. It is a sign of the Government's commitment to health care that the health budget has increased by 7.7 per cent. For the first time the Government has allocated $300 million in the health budget to specifically treat and care for cancer patients. That benefit will be appreciated statewide, not least of all in the Vaucluse electorate, because it is a problem that affects the community overall.
I should now like to turn to Budget issues that have a statewide significance. One area in which the New South Wales Government has really been at the cutting edge and has set an example that has been followed by State governments around Australia is the involvement of the private sector in the provision of infrastructure. Governments should be able to take proposals to the private sector with regard to roads, hospitals, correctional institutions or whatever the case may be, to seek expressions of interest and creative ways of financing those proposals, building them, managing them and, perhaps in turn, transferring them back to the public sector - which may not always be the case. The reality is that unless there is creativity in the way some projects are approached, the chances are they may not be achieved.
That is why initially the Greiner Government and subsequently the Fahey Government have pursued a determined course of involving the private sector in the provision of infrastructure. An interesting trend has emerged and it is very ably covered in the report of the Public Accounts Committee entitled "Infrastructure Management and Financing in New South Wales". As the report points out, the trend is of declining public investment in infrastructure in New South Wales as a proportion of gross State product. The significance of that - "significant" in the context of it being good and not a bad thing - is that it frees up the financial resources of government so that they can be applied in other areas as the private sector, on a user-pays basis, accepts responsibility for major infrastructure projects. I think that is a very worthwhile and innovative approach and I add my support for it as one of the fundamental directions of the New South Wales Government.
Despite whatever specific objections may be raised - and in recent times extraordinary and ill-founded objections have been raised in connection with the Port Macquarie Hospital - I have no doubt that we will see that continuing and increasing involvement of the private sector in major infrastructure. On the drawing board are projects as innovative as the airport-city rail link, revolving very significantly around the provision of commercial space right through the southern part of Sydney between the city and the airport. That project represents an exciting and healthy balance of involvement of both the private sector and the Government.
I now turn to what, as a former Minister for Tourism, I consider to be one of the most exciting inclusions in the budget: a 43 per cent increase in the allocation to the Tourism Commission of New South Wales. That at long last is a real recognition of the value of tourism. Ministers for tourism have been saying for a long time that one of the greatest frustrations in that very important and dynamic portfolio is that tourism is dismissed as being at the flaky end of the scale. Nothing could be further from the truth. In New South Wales and Australia-wide, tourism is an industry that is growing, dynamic, and bringing in an extraordinary amount of revenue.
As I was reminded when I first took over the tourism portfolio, it requires the export of 50 tonnes of coal to generate the same income as is generated by two Japanese honeymooners staying in Australia for one week. That is an interesting comparison and we should never lose sight of the fact that tourism is an area of strong economic input and is of major significance to the Australian economy. When we look at the target of Australia having something like five and a half million to six million inbound tourists by the turn of the century - up from a figure of approximately 2.8 million now - it gives us some idea of what we have to look forward to.
Irrespective of that all-important decision to be made in Monte Carlo on 24th September on the Sydney Olympic bid, the future for tourism is incredibly bright. With a 43 per cent boost to tourism funding we have a lot to look forward to. I commend the Minister for Tourism, the Hon. Virginia Chadwick, and also the Chairman of the Tourism Commission, Mr Wolfgang Grimm, because I know that some serious lobbying and negotiating was necessary to make the powers that be in Treasury understand that they were not playing games with their request for greater funding for tourism. Tourism funding will provide a return over and over again. As the Federal Government recognised some years ago when John Brown was able to achieve a similar quantum increase in the level of funding for the Federal tourism commission, so too have we seen a very welcome funding increase at State level.
The budget is a continuation of sound economic management for the people of New South Wales. We knew, because we took those hard decisions in 1988-89, that New South Wales would be least affected by the recession. As has been so often said, we would be the last to go into the recession and the first to come out of it and that has certainly proved to be the case. The Budget brought down by the Treasurer of New South Wales has ensured that that strategy is intact and that New South Wales is on track.
Mr D. L. PAGE
(Ballina) [9.37]: I commend the Budget. Not only is it good news for the people of New South Wales in the context of the economic environment we are faced with, but it is particularly good news for people in the Ballina electorate and the people of the North Coast. The budget strategy was clear and obvious to anyone who is thinking about where the finances of New South Wales should be directed during the next 12 months and beyond. The fundamental strategy was formulated to contain the level of debt and to maintain the level of core services that government should provide to its people.
It is worth noting that the Treasurer, the Hon. Peter Collins, has achieved a very good balancing act in providing funding for the core services that are important to the State Government and, at the same time, in making sure that fiscal responsibility is maintained. The Budget was formulated amidst a lot of economic pressure. The New South Wales Government was facing considerable budgetary pressures in pursuing its strategy prior to the Budget. New South Wales finances have been hard pressed over the past several years because of a decline in financial grants from the Commonwealth Government; and diminishing returns on State tax receipts, due to the effects of the national recession and property markets, brought about by the misguided policies of the Labor Government in Canberra. The Northern Star
, which is probably the most influential daily newspaper on the North Coast, said it all in an editorial entitled "Budget medicine":
The New South Wales budget handed down yesterday is just another indicator of government trying to reign in expenditure now that the good times are well and truly over. The years of borrowing to the eyeballs, stacking jobs in the Public Service and not worrying about inefficient, wasteful bureaucracy in government services, are gone for good. In yesterday's balancing act, Treasurer Collins has lifted spending in health, social services and education . . .
The article continues in relation to the local area - and I think this is particularly important for the North Coast and my electorate:
As an important growth area, the North Coast has been well treated by the Government
This is a newspaper, I have to say, that is not prone to singing the praises of the Government. It continues:
The allocation of funds for schools, hospital redevelopments, roads and the Yamba Port is to be applauded. Hopefully some of the tourism funds and regional development money will also flow our way. This hard times budget appears to have a significant sweetener for the North Coast.
That editorial sums up the general feeling with which the Budget has been received statewide. It reflects also the benefits people on the North Coast will receive. I cannot leave this editorial without commenting on the cartoon next to it. I think the cartoon is probably the best summation I have seen of the New South Wales Budget. I am sure that the Minister for Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs will agree that this cartoon depicts the Premier of New South Wales, the Hon. John Fahey -
Driving a car robustly.
Mr D. L. PAGE:
- driving a car robustly. The number plate of the car the Premier is driving has on it the word "Budget". The cartoon depicts also the Federal Labor Treasurer, John Dawkins, in a car on the blocks; its wheels have fallen off. John Dawkins is looking very disappointed as John Fahey speeds by. The Federal Government's Budget has fallen apart and the Federal Treasurer, John Dawkins, yells out to John Fahey as he speeds past, "Show off".
The New South Wales Government has got it right again. The Federal Government, as everyone knows, has continued to get it wrong for many years. Before speaking about my own electorate, and the North Coast in particular, I want to say a little more about the economic environment in which this Budget was formulated and why I believe it has been well received by the media and economic commentators. Commonwealth general purpose payments have fallen.
So, too, have receipts from State taxation due to the slowing of the economy since 1989-90. In 1992-93 total revenue from real estate duty, land tax, government property sales and share duty decreased by 30 per cent in real terms - a significant decrease compared with the 1988-89 figure. That revenue is estimated to provide only $1.7 billion to the Consolidated Fund in 1993-94 because of the slow recovery of the national economy from the recession.
Let us look in broad terms at what is going out and what is coming in. Total budget revenue from both Commonwealth grants and State tax receipts is estimated at $18.4 billion, while total budget sector outlays are estimated at $19.3 billion. That means a deficit forecast of $890 million for the year, which is a reduction in the size of the deficit. Given that situation, I think it is worth noting that the New South Wales Government has identified quite clearly in an economic and social document that its priorities are to be directed towards health, education and key government social and community services. No one could disagree with the importance of these areas of government services and the need to improve them.
The 1993-94 Budget, a responsible Budget, sets clear strategies to contain debt, to be responsible about debt, to reduce the deficit - which I indicated has been reduced by $100 million - and maintain the quality of important government services in which the community demands State governments should have an involvement. Seventy-five per cent of the Budget is expended in the key areas of health, education and training, community services, law and order and the mandatory costs of debt and superannuation. I will go through the segments of the Budget that are important to the State, to the North Coast and to the Ballina electorate in particular. I will comment first on health, as it is a major priority for the New South Wales Government; therefore it is the largest area of expenditure in the State Budget.
In the 1993-94 Budget health has been allocated $4.9 billion, including $315 million for capital expenditure. That represents a 4.6 per cent increase in real terms on last year's funding. One of the key health priorities in my electorate has been the redevelopment of Byron Bay hospital. I am delighted to see in the capital expenditure allocations a $2.7 million allocation for the redevelopment of that hospital. I am sure that will be warmly welcomed by everyone in my electorate. The redevelopment of that hospital has been an ongoing concern for the people of Byron Bay for many years - a matter that the previous Labor Government, when in office, continually refused to do anything about. As so often is the case in my electorate, it has taken the election of a conservative member, who is part of a conservative government, to introduce a range of capital improvements, including in this case the redevelopment of Byron Bay hospital. The planning for that redevelopment is under way, and we expect funding to flow in the course of the next year. I confidently predict that that redevelopment will be concluded by the end of 1994.
For me, as a local member, the real highlight in this Budget is education. I doubt whether any honourable member in this Parliament could claim three new schools in his or her electorate and an extension to an existing high school that will cost a total of about $17 million. I can claim that in my electorate. I am very proud to be part of a government that is allocating funds for the education of our young people. After all is said and done, education has to be one of the priorities of any government. A number of schools in my electorate have received planning approval. The first is Wollongbar Primary School. Also, East Ballina High School, which will become part of Southern Cross Primary School - it will be the first K-12 school on the North Coast - will receive an allocation of over $9 million. Clunes Primary School will have seven permanent classrooms, an administrative block, a library, a food service unit, a hall and associated site works. Funds have also been allocated to replace double classroom blocks at Dunoon Primary School and Bangalow Public School.
These budgetary allocations have been made 12 months after other schools have been completed in my electorate. Last week the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs opened a $5 million school, Southern Cross Primary School, at East Ballina. A $4 million new school at Ocean Shores will soon be opened and students will commence in term four this year. I do not believe anyone can claim achievements similar to those in my electorate. Two new schools have been built, not to mention the redeveloped Byron Bay Primary School. I do not have enough time to enunciate all this Government's fantastic achievements since it has been in office and since I have been the member for Ballina. This Government has allocated an incredible amount of money for those areas that require it. That is exactly as it should be.
The North Coast did not exist under the former Labor Government. Barrie Unsworth and Neville Wran did not know or need the North Coast of New South Wales when they were in government. It was not a question of their survival in government being predicated upon winning North Coast seats. This Government does care about the people on the North Coast and is allocating funding to that region. The North Coast has the highest growth rate in New South Wales. The Chief Secretary and Minister for Administrative Services, for whom I have great affection, knows that the western part of Sydney is growing at a rapid rate. As a local member for that area, quite apart from the excellent job she does as Minister, she is making a fantastic effort to match resources to growth. If one takes the growth of Sydney and the North Coast of New South Wales as a whole, at present the figures show that the North Coast is growing at an average rate that is twice the average rate of growth of the Sydney area.
The other day I released the North Coast urban planning strategy. The North Coast population is growing at an average rate of 2.3 per cent per annum. The Tweed is growing at a rate of 4 per cent, and in my area it is 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent. Any
responsible Government must ensure that funds are allocated to the areas of need, whether it be the western suburbs of Sydney or the North Coast of New South Wales. It gave me great pleasure to read in the Budget Papers that my electorate has been allocated funding for the construction of three brand new schools - one high school and two primary schools - together with the construction of two other primary schools and a couple of other significant school improvements. This funding would not have happened under the previous administration.
That is why I am not getting the money in my electorate.
The money is going to areas of need. It is appropriate that the money is allocated to where the children are who need to be accommodated, and that is what is happening. We have high growth and we are getting the funds. There is nothing political about it. It is a case of good local members arguing cogently and coherently to make sure that they get their just deserts. Frankly, under the Labor administration the people on the North Coast did not get their just deserts, and they know it. It should be recognised that the Northern Star
, a newspaper not normally known to be particularly supportive of the Government, published an editorial that I mentioned earlier that the North Coast is being well treated by the Government by putting the money where the growth is. I assure honourable members that it will be recognised by the people in the March 1995 election.
I have dealt with the redevelopment of Byron hospital. Lismore Base Hospital, a category 4-5 base hospital for the North Coast, has also received a significant injection of funds for the development of its final construction stage, not to mention the record of $101 million in recurrent expenditure, which represents a 25 per cent increase in health recurrent expenditure for the North Coast since the coalition parties came to government. A 25 per cent increase in health funding for the North Coast since 1988, again matching the dollars where the demand is, is a fantastic achievement. The good news does not stop with health and education. Lennox Head sewerage works and the Byron Bay beach protection program involves an additional allocation of $9.18 million. The Lennox Head beach protection works - a joint project with the council - will receive $611,000, not to mention the amount of $6.25 million allocated for the provision of water supply in the growth area through the Rous County Council. All up, my electorate is looking at a capital works allocation of more than $46 million. [Extension of time agreed to
I am indebted to the House for granting me an extension of time. This will allow me to remind the people of the North Coast and the people of New South Wales generally of the fantastic measures this Government is taking to ensure that the people of the North Coast, and the Ballina electorate in particular, get their fair share of the tax dollars that they pay to the Commonwealth and that are eventually returned to New South Wales. A number of other important allocations have been made by way of capital works. These include: an allocation of $30,000 for the upgrading of the Byron Bay railway station and $300,000 to assist the Byron council to commence construction on the Ocean Shores sewerage augmentation project. This funding will enable the council to improve the effluent quality and to provide additional capacity to cater for the continuing growth in the area. As I said before, the Government is committed to the Ballina-Lennox Head sewerage project, which involves the augmentation of the Lennox Head sewage treatment works and the upgrading of the Lennox Head-Ballina distribution system. That commitment was not evident under the administration of the Labor Government.
I recommend to honourable members who are free to travel to the North Coast that they should holiday at Lennox Head at Christmas. They will be pleased to note that the beach front, with its beautiful park, has been transformed. The Lennox Head dune care and sea wall programs have improved the amenity of the people and, more importantly, they have protected the township from the effects of a cyclone. This is a positive measure by the Government, involving a total expenditure in this financial year of more than $600,000. A number of other important achievements in my electorate include a $30,000 allocation for improvements to recreational boating in the Ballina electorate. The town of Ballina is located on the Richmond River - an important recreational amenity for the community. The North Coast community has never had it so good as they have under our Government. Before I became a member of Parliament, the North Coast did not receive a significant allocation for roads. This Government has more than doubled the amount of money to be spent on State highways in the Ballina electorate. Before I became the member for Ballina I saw a letter from the former Minister for Roads, the Hon. Laurie Brereton, to a constituent of mine in which he wrote that the Bangalow bypass would not go ahead for at least another 10 years. I am pleased to inform the House that not only has that been proved wrong, but the Bangalow bypass will be completed - and we are talking here about a $20 million project that Laurie Brereton said would not happen for another 10 years - at the end of 1994.
This reflects the commitment of the Government to the North Coast. An amount of $8 million has been allocated in the Budget for the completion of the Bangalow bypass. That is only the beginning. The Ballina cutting was commenced in 1983 - the beginning of the story of Labor's mismanagement. Between 1983 and 1988 the Labor Government allocated about $500,000 to the project. About two weeks ago I opened the Ballina cutting - a beautiful deviation that straightens out a formerly winding and unsafe section of road, at a cost of about $6.5 million. That work was carried out in less than five years. It was a 10-year project, and 99.8 per cent of the funding for the project has been provided during the Greiner and Fahey administrations. The Government's achievements are visible. We are talking about real improvements in roads - projects that Laurie Brereton said could not be provided for at least 10 years.
Three new schools and an extension to a high school have been built, and two new schools were built last year. I defy other local members to enumerate these types of achievements. One of the most important initiatives, perhaps not in dollar terms but certainly in direction, is the increased allocation for tourism. Most people who have had the opportunity to visit the North Coast of New South Wales will know that very few places are more beautiful than Byron Bay and Ballina.
In the campaigns that were so fiercely contested prior to the 1988 election, I was inundated with visits to the region by Labor Ministers. My electorate and the electorate of the honourable member for Murwillumbah were the flavour of the month. They would arrive on a Friday afternoon to conduct the compulsory interview with the local media and would stay for the weekend to make sure they had a good feel for the area and to talk to local constituents. The Labor Party did nothing in terms of providing additional funding for tourism. I am pleased that the Government has doubled the allocation this year for regional tourism. There has been a significant increase - 56 per cent - in tourism funding over the whole of New South Wales. It is important that that money is well directed.
The money will be directed to improving marketing strategies and ensuring that the level of domestic tourism is maximised. Seventy six per cent of overseas visitors arrive in Australia through Sydney. Many Japanese tourists travel through Brisbane and the Gold Coast to northern New South Wales. The money will ensure that tourists take the opportunity and time to see rural Australia, particularly the most beautiful part of rural Australia with the best beaches and the friendliest people in the world. I commend the Government for its foresight in allocating additional money to tourism. I agree
with the comment of the honourable member for Vaucluse about the importance of tourism as an economic generator of jobs and opportunities for the people of Australia. It should not be relied on as the only industry, but it is a very important industry which can provide many jobs and many economic opportunities for the people of the far North Coast.
In conclusion, I welcome a new scheme that has been announced by the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing in this year's Budget, which I believe will have particular benefits for growth areas such as the North Coast of New South Wales. I was heartened by the announcement of the Minister in the Budget Papers that a new program called the developing areas assistance scheme will provide $2.5 million for a new capital works program that will shift the focus of regional sport planning to give top priority to the State's top growth areas.
I represent an area that is growing twice as fast as the city of Sydney. It is important that our sporting and recreational facilities are developed to accommodate this rapid population growth. I commend the Government for the additional funding. However, I would have preferred a little more. The sporting community of the North Coast has produced some wonderful athletes over the years. It boasts many fantastic young players of sports such as soccer, tennis and hockey. Yet it does not have the regional sports facilities that it desperately needs. I commend the Government for introducing the new program. The Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing and the Premier were instrumental in its introduction. This financially responsible Budget will be of tremendous benefit to the North Coast.
Debate adjourned on motion by Mr Nagle.
House adjourned at 10.7 p.m.