This year’s state budget has been handed down by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and there are a few wins for our region, but maybe not the ones we wanted.
Roads, infrastructure, health, education, agriculture – they are all at the forefront of Riverina residents’ minds.
Much can be said about the government’s lack of empathy towards the bush or how much they pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
We might not have everything we need, or funding for what residents living in these communities would deem a priority, but we have not been snubbed.
Wagga doesn’t seem like it was a primary focus but some projects in the Riverina, such as the Griffith hospital, Gocup Road and Deniliquin Police Station, had significant amounts thrown at them.
Before we get too excited about the funding for Wagga Base Hospital, let’s remember that this is not additional funding.
This is part of the $170 million that was announced for stage three a year ago for the hospital redevelopment.
This money is just the latest instalment in an allowance for the hospital’s stage three.
Announcing funding that has already been committed seems a little misleading but it’s good to see the government is dedicated to the continued development of the hospital.
It would have been nice to see a little more money dedicated to fixing up the region’s roads but one of the biggest problems areas, Gocup Road, looks to benefit from a $19.5 million upgrade so that’s a step in the right direction.
One of the biggest wins would be funding allocated for a new school in Wagga, although we still don’t know where it’s going.
The mention in the budget seems to put an end to the speculation that Wagga is getting a new school, and listing its location as ‘Charles Sturt University’ indicates it could be set for development in Estella, although there is no confirmation on that.
We could spend hours dissecting the budget and exactly who missed out but what good would it do?
It was dubbed the ‘cost of living budget’ which is fine if you’re a mother, paramedic, school child or small business. But the rest are left wondering if the government really understands that money spent in the bush is far more advantageous than billions spent on stadiums in Sydney.