So, the out-of-touch Liberal State Government wants to knock down and rebuild Allianz and ANZ stadiums in Sydney - at a cost of $2.5 billion - and, at the same time, deliver a backhander to the lower Hunter.
Talk about having your priorities out of whack. It's an insult to people in regional areas across the state, none more so than those in Maitland.
Consider for a moment: the NSW Government collected $1.7 billion from selling Newcastle Port, something that can only be sold once, but want to spend $2.5 billion on updating two perfectly acceptable sporting stadiums - one of which was only built as recently as the Sydney Olympics.
At the same time as people in Maitland are crying out to have a modern, publically funded hospital, they are now being asked to help foot the bill for a couple of Sydney stadiums?
No wonder Labor leader Luke Foley described the plan as 'obscene', and said the money should be spent on schools and hospitals.
This just highlights what Maitland’s hardworking MP Jenny Aitchison and myself have been saying for a while - how drastically out of touch Premier Berejiklian's government is.
Hunter schools are overcrowded and have to contend with demountable classrooms, leaky rooves and broken toilets. The hospital fight goes on with a funding model being forced on the people that they clearly don't want. Yet none of this seems to register.
So, for the record, here's a few things that $2.5 billion could be used for.
- Four regional hospitals; or
- 139 primary schools; or
- 62.5 high schools.
Or how about these hospital waiting time figures?
- Across the Hunter New England Local Health District the median waiting time for non-urgent elective surgery is 223 days – with some patients waiting 352 days;
- Across the Hunter New England Local Health District there are 9,469 patients waiting for elective surgery (as at 30 June 2017).
Or here’s a worrying school stat.
- Hunter schools are among the most overcrowded in the state; there are 81 schools in the region that are at 100 per cent capacity.
Sporting stadiums in Sydney? Come on!