The Wilson River which feeds into the Richmond River which is now a category F river.
The Wilson River which feeds into the Richmond River which is now a category F river. Marc Stapelberg

Candidates battle over Richmond River election promises

COUNTRY Labor candidate Janelle Saffin has defended the absence of her party's Richmond River funding from the NSW Parliamentary Budget Office costings, instead accusing the Nationals of a smear campaign in the days leading up to the election.

Ms Saffin, who is running for the seat of Lismore, said her party's commitment to provide $100 million over ten years to repair the Richmond River would be covered under the Community Catch Up Fund, which is costed at $345 million over the forward estimates.

"Our Richmond River commitment is $100 million over ten years,” she said.

"The PBO only give forecasts for the first three years. Our commitment for this portion of time is $27 million, over three years. This is perfectly sensible, it is the same for all sides of politics. 

"This is a Liberal smear campaign because they are desperate, absolutely desperate and out of ideas.”

The forward estimates only run until 30 June 2022. 

But Nationals candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin said Labor couldn't be trusted to deliver what's best for NSW.

"This is the same old Labor on show - promises, promises, promises, then cuts, cuts, cuts,” Mr Curtin said.

"The last time Labor was in government they left a $30 billion infrastructure backlog, a $5.2 billion budget black hole and out-of-control expenses growth. They have clearly demonstrated over the past few weeks that they will say or do anything to seize power, and the people of the regions will suffer as a result.”

"Labor has no drought support, no protection of the right to farm, no support for the dairy industry, and cuts to apprentices and trainees.”

Ms Saffin said the NSW Government should ensure there's no gaps in their own costings before accusing other parties of foul play.

"The government promised $500 million for their 'Fixing Country Bridges' program but the PBO have costed the commitment at $232 million in the costings,” she said.

"That is because the full spending goes further ahead in years than the forward estimates provided by the PBO.

"You don't see us running around saying 'They're only spending less than half of what they promised for country bridges'.

"They are being utterly disingenuous because they are desperate, they are now lying to the community.”