Plans for a second public hospital in Maitland appear to be on the backburner after less than $1 million was allocated to the project in yesterday’s bitter sweet 2012-2013 state budget.
The government has allocated $16.8 million towards the new hospital – but not until 2013-2014 – leaving Cessnock MP Clayton Barr and Maitland MLC Sophie Cotsis wondering what progress will be made in the next 12 months.
Mr Barr and Ms Cotsis said Maitland Hospital was at capacity and desperately needed a massive funding injection.
And the outlook for the upgrade to the city’s two major roundabouts on the New England Highway looks no better.
The upgrade was allocated only
$9 million in the coming financial year with a further $34.5 million to be spent by the end of 2014-2015.
Kurri Kurri TAFE was a budget winner with money allocated to its heavy vehicle section to enable the campus to train a record number of apprentices to meet industry demand.
Public housing in the city was allocated $1.4 million with Housing NSW to determine how that money will be spent.
But relief for the city’s growing pains will have to wait with Maitland missing out on a share of the $481 million housing acceleration fund program designed to build infrastructure in areas of housing growth.
Maitland, which is regarded as one of the fastest growing inland cities in Australia, missed out at the expense of Camden/Liverpool, Blacktown, The Hills, Hornsby/Parramatta, City of Sydney, Wollongong, Wyong and Port Macquarie-Hastings.
Mr Barr and Ms Cotsis questioned the government’s decision to exclude Maitland from the list.
“It’s a disgrace considering Maitland’s growth rate,” Ms Cotsis said.
“The city needs infrastructure investment and would have benefited from the $181 million the eight places across the state are getting.”
The government has also confirmed 10,000 public sector jobs will be cut over four years. The extent of job losses in Maitland from this remains unknown.
Ms Cotsis said the cuts would be felt in households across the city.
“The government needs to be investing in the area and the job losses they have confirmed are going to have a massive impact on families,” Ms Cotsis said.
Maitland MP Robyn Parker said the city was a budget winner with a commitment from the government to build for the future and investment to meet the growing needs of the city.
“There is money allocated to Maitland infrastructure projects for roads, health, water and sewerage, public housing as well as community transport,” she said.
Big winners in yesterday’s budget:
* Hunter Infrastructure Fund: $74 million in 2012-2013
* Hunter Expressway: Another $530 million, $31 million for ancillary works
* Farley Wastewater treatment works: $18.5 million
* Kurri Kurri Hospital: a share in $2.6 million for rehabilitation services
* Raymond Terrace HealthOne program: $11.4 million
* Hunter New England Local Health District: $3.3 million to employ about 51 nurses, $338,000 to employ more clinical nurse/midwife educators and clinical specialists.
* Maitland mental health carers room: A further $1.8 million
* Maitland Community Transport: $616,000
* Thornton Railway Bridge: $2.5 million toward the project
* Dunmore Bridge: $6.7 million
* Clarence Town Bridge: $500,000.