The Clarence and Richmond valleys’ younger and older citizens as well as anyone concerned about health are the local winners from the latest State Budget, delivered on Tuesday, according to Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis.
“After a major focus on roads and bridges in recent years and despite ongoing funding for important projects like the Woodburn to Coraki Road upgrade, the spotlight is more on health, children and seniors this time,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“There is funding to continue preparations for the major expansion of Grafton Base Hospital, new ambulance stations in Casino and Iluka and the refurbishment of the station in Evans Head.
“There is also more for key regional health priorities including mental health, palliative care and ADHD.
“There is additional funding for social housing and I expect that to translate into announcements of local projects in the near future.”
Mr Gulaptis welcomed particular attention to the needs of younger children.
“In a very big win that will save parents up to $4000 per year for each of their younger children, the NSW Nationals in the state government are investing $150 million into a new Start Strong Free Preschool program and we are also launching $100 Learn to Swim vouchers for every preschool child aged three to six in NSW,” Mr Gulaptis said.
The new vouchers are in addition to the $100 Active Kids and Creative Kids vouchers which will also continue.
Mr Gulaptis said the Budget makes the region safer by funding the continued expansion of NSW Police numbers, fulfilling the NSW Nationals in the state government’s commitment to boost the force by 1500 officers, the largest increase in thirty years.
“The environment too is again a winner in this Budget, with the NSW Nationals in the state government declaring a $356 million war on plastics and waste,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“This is a win for the whole community as is the decision to increase the funding available to the Clarence and Richmond Valleys for the popular Community Building Partnership program from $300,000 to $400,000 a year.”
Mr Gulaptis added that many more local seniors could benefit from the two-year extension of the NSW Nationals in the state government’s signature $250 Regional Seniors Travel Card, which will be available to more people from next year.
For detailed information about the NSW Budget go to www.budget.nsw.gov.au. For a detailed analysis of what it means for the Clarence, read Mr Gulaptis’s upcoming newsletters in the 30 June editions of the Clarence Valley Independent and the Richmond River Independent.