Country Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin.
Country Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin. Contributed

Country NSW abandoned: Saffin slams budget

THE Labor candidate for Lismore has slammed the latest state budget saying it abandons country NSW.

Country Labor candidate for the state seat of Lismore, Janelle Saffin said: "It can be called many things - but it is not a country people's budget”.

"It seems we are wearing the Coalition cuts in order to fund their $2 plus billion Sydney Stadiums and their surplus,” she said.

"It is reported by the Sydney Press as a 'Splash Cash' Election budget, but for this part of NSW and for the rest of Country NSW, it is the crumbs again and worse.

"Where were the Nationals in the lead up to the budget? What were the budget priorities of Thomas George, Ben Franklin and his candidate? What submissions did they make? Our future is in renewables, where the Northern Rivers leads. Renewable energy never got a mention in the budget.”

Ms Saffin listed issues she believed needed addressing.

  • 157 local public service jobs to go (3 per cent 'efficiency dividend' imposed). Ms Saffin said jobs of child care workers, disability workers, teacher assistants, national park rangers to be cut, but in the last seven years there has been a thirty per cent increase in public servants in the Premier's city electorate.
  • Libraries cut to the bone by 18 per cent ($5.275 million)
  • Local councils cut to the bone by $32 million via grants and subsidies
  • Less than 15 per cent of the roads budget was allocated to country NSW, and less than 10 per cent west of the divide
  • No extra police are coming our way despite local communities needing "cops on the beat-boots on the ground”
  • Tourism cut by $33 million (16 per cent) to Destination NSW (Destination Sydney Stadiums however are intact)
  • 83 per cent of families miss out on the pre-school funding - eight out of ten preschool programs are ineligible for funding - 83 per cent of families in NSW send their children to Long Day Care services to receive pre-schooling - Long Day Care was a necessity for working families and reflects on real lives. These Long Day Care services have been expressly excluded from the new funding.
  • The NSW Coalition Government has slashed TAFE over the past budgets. Based on the 2017-18 Budget and leaked internal TAFE documents, Ms Saffin said: "We know that since 2011: there are 175,000 fewer students enrolled and 5700 teachers and support staff have been sacked. We need TAFE Teachers and Support Staff, real TAFE Campuses - not shopfronts, more and affordable TAFE courses, more police on the beat, better support for schools, libraries to survive, tourism supported, CBDs to prosper, farmers to be assured of strong budget support, renewable energy support and much more to keep our cities, towns, and local communities sustainable.

"It is not a budget for country families - country communities. It seems country people are expected to go on whistling cheerfully without complaint.

"I will have a lot more to say about this neglect by our politicians,” Ms Saffin said.