NSW Budget 2003/04
Better Business July/August 03
NSW Budget 2003/04
The NSW budget was handed down on Tuesday 24 June 2003 and in my Budget-in-reply
speech, I took the opportunity of outlining numerous positives and matters of
In the Health sector, money was allocated for the Kyogle MPS, Casino Hospital
and planning for the upgrade to Richmond Clinic. I will continue to seek funding
for Critical Care Services at Lismore Base Hospital, a Radiotherapy Unit, as
well as updating the Rehabilitation Unit. There is an ongoing need for more
accessible and early intervention of dental health services. Currently the
demand far exceeds the ability of the program to service the public's
In the area of Education, the proposed restructuring of Regional District
Offices throughout the State could have a dramatic effect on public education
and jobs in the Lismore area. This week I personally presented a submission to
the Education Minister highlighting the need for an Educational Support Centre
to be located in Lismore.
Disappointingly the requests for road funding including the Bruxner Highway to
Tenterfield, the Woodenbong to Legume Road which connects the Darling Downs to
Northern Rivers, were again overlooked. Further substantial funding is needed
for the Summerland Way and for this to be achieved collaboration between the
Federal and State Governments needs to occur.
I acknowledged that the Lismore electorate now has a full complement of police,
but this has only been achieved after a long time and lots of representations.
Lismore Police Station is a high priority for capital works and Casino Station
certainly requires further improvements.
As part of the NSW Opposition, I have strongly criticised the Carr Labor
Government for celebrating the new financial year with a raft of increased fees
and charges that will have a significant impact on small businesses, community
groups and consumers.
These increases would not have been necessary if the Carr Government had been
able to control a $1.4 billion blow out of its 2002/03 budget. It is dishonest,
as Labor gave no hint of these cost hikes in the lead up to the March election.
Across the board more than 1,000 fees will be increased from 1 July.
In my address, I highlighted that I will continue to reinforce the problems
faced by small businesses and industries as a result of payroll tax, workers
compensation, stamp duty, fire service levy and general insurance. Different
rates of payroll tax and workers compensation along the border areas make it
very difficult for businesses to compete against interstate opposition who have
the benefits of cheaper premiums, providing unfair competition for NSW
The Coalition has offered the Government bipartisan support to resolve the
workers compensation problems. Not one business in this State is without a
workers compensation problem. I believe that businesses are paying more for
workers compensation premiums today than they were five years ago despite the
costs associated with OH&S requirements and efforts by employers to reduce
workplace accidents. The State is losing $2.5 million a day, which is not good
for anyone-the Government, the Opposition or businesses.