Member for Maitland, Jenny Aitchison, has challenged the NSW Liberals and Nationals to explain why the strong growth in her electorate has again been ‘hobbled’ by the State Budget.
Maitland is one of the fastest growing regional cities with population growth of 25 per cent since 2006 making it now home to more than 80,000 people.
“That includes, according to recent NSW Minerals Council figures, 2,367 fulltime direct employees helping to generate the state’s mining royalties but we continue to see little of that money returned to the city,” Ms Aitchison said.
There was minimal new money released by the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government in the latest budget with only further down payments for projects currently under way such as the New Maitland Hospital.
A further $54 million dollars will be spent on construction of the $470 million Metford facility with the completion date brought forward 12 months to June 2023.
The upgrade of the Raymond Terrace Road-Government Road Thornton intersection has received $1.4 million from the Housing Acceleration Fund for design work that would bring it a step closer to construction.
“Despite the Liberals’ candidate making the Maitland Railway Roundabout a priority during this year’s election campaign, it doesn’t rate a mention in the Budget papers,” Ms Aitchison said.
The Liberals’ and Nationals’ education spend had a hollow ring for Maitland with no new schools to be constructed nor any additional upgrades on top of the work at Bolwarra and Rutherford Public Schools and proposed improvements for Ashtonfield Public School.
“We are still in the dark over just what, if any money has been allocated or spent on the Ashtonfield Public School upgrade,” Ms Aitchison added.
“The Liberals’ and Nationals’ secrecy adds to my concerns about the air conditioning of classrooms at Maitland public schools because the Budget papers list the project but put no dollar figure on what will be spent in the coming financial year.”