MEDIA RELEASE - NSW Budget: Hospital is great! But Maitland Needs More Road & School Funding





Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison has called on the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to do more for Maitland after a Budget which failed to meet the infrastructure needs for the fastest growing community in NSW outside of Sydney.

While the progress on the new Maitland Hospital and $30 million car park brings the total value of the project to half a billion dollars, roads and education are not keeping pace with the city’s population boom.

On the subject of Maitland’s roads, Ms Aitchison was pleased the Government finally made a down payment with $5 million (part of a $8.1 million package) funding for the intersection of Raymond Terrace Road and Government Road in Thornton

“The Government’s $5 million announcement yesterday is well short of the $51 million that Maitland City Council requested to adequately fund the much needed road works at Thornton. It does nothing to address the duplication of the Thornton Rail Bridge which the Liberal-National Government has not completed in over a decade, and which is a major impediment to addressing congestion in the area.” Ms Aitchison said “the diabolical disaster at the Maitland railway station roundabout will continue with no further funds committed in this budget, despite continuing congestion issues.”

“The Liberals and Nationals have tried to claim credit for an $8.5 million package at Testers Hollow project, despite only contributing $2 million to the budget! They are only spending $5.2 million this year, meaning it will be at least another year before the project is completed.”

Ms Aitchison said it was appalling that after ten years in Government the Government has failed to build one new school in Maitland, and that even the upgrade announcements in the budget were old projects, some dating back to 2015.

Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison said, “we desperately need new investments in our school infrastructure. While Labor has taken a commitment to build a new primary and high school to the last two state elections, the Liberals and Nationals have failed to build one new school in ten years.”

“There were ZERO dollars in the Budget for Gillieston Public School which is in desperate need of an upgrade, with only two permanent classrooms, and still not even being connected to town sewerage services. Until recent times, there was still a dirt floor in the boys’ toilets and there are ongoing accessibility issues. It’s simply not acceptable for students in the 21st century!”

“The Rutherford public school funding is the money Labor shamed them into spending to complete the library in 2020, after the NSW Government tried to say the upgrade was complete. It was clear to everyone that there was a void where the new library and its services were supposed to be.”

“The State Government was ready to cut the ribbon and declare the School build a success, until the Labor Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Education Prue Car and I called on them to complete the works,” Ms Aitchison said.

“The lack of vision and planning by the Berejiklian Government has forced students to learn in overcrowded and dilapidated classrooms, and students are being forced into two storey schools or face losing more precious playground space to deal with the growing population.”

Ms Aitchison said the budget’s investment of over $6 million in social housing was good news, but it highlighted the need for proper infrastructure like roads and education.

Ms Aitchison said the Government needed to contribute more to Maitland through the Resources for Regions program, with less than $1.3 million committed in the 2022 budget. “People in Maitland don’t have time to enjoy long lunches in the Sydney CBD, they are busy working their guts out in the mines, and working in small businesses that support the mining sector, we deserve our fair share of money from the royalties that are funding the Treasurer’s lattes.

“The message from this budget is clear – if you live in Sydney, life is just one long lunch Friday, funded by people in the regions, who can’t get to work on congested roads, after they drop their kids off to dilapidated schools that the Government refuses to bring into the 21st century.

“The local Liberal councillors and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter should hang their heads in shame and start standing up to their Liberals and Nationals mates for our community.” she said.

DATE: Wednesday 23 June 2021