Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Order Of The Third Hand

Budget cash for Wagga flows mainly to existing major projects

MORE than $114 million was allocated to major infrastructure projects in the Wagga electorate in this year's state budget, but only a fraction of that - $5 million for the Gocup Road - can be classified as new money.
Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire said he was "very happy" with his share of the budget spoils, emphasising the importance of delivering on vital health, transport and law and order projects already under way.
"We are getting on with the job," Mr Maguire said.
"I did not expect any newer works, but I really wanted funding for Gocup Road and I am so pleased we have been able to move that project along."
The big ticket items to receive budget funding were:
– Wagga Base Hospital - $77 million draw down on the $282 million redevelopment;
– Kapooka bridge - $17 million (federal government to contribute $19.5 million and state government has previously allocated $4.8 million to the $39 million project);
– Wagga courthouse upgrade - $15.7 million ($1.78 million previously allocated);
– Gocup Road - $5 million to improve three kilometre section in Tumut Shire.
Mr Maguire said $37.47 million would be spent on road projects in the Wagga electorate in 2014-15, including the Kapooka bridge and associated 2.8 kilometre realignment of the Olympic Highway and more than $4 million for improvements to the Snowy Mountains Highway.
Some $4.6 million was committed to the expansion of mental health services at Wagga Base Hospital, but details of the spending were not available on Tuesday night.
"It's not about us wanting a nice road, it's about the long-term future." - Trina Thomson
The funding for Gocup Road was welcomed by Tumut Shire Council, which has been battling for many years to upgrade the vital road that links the Hume and Snowy Mountains highways between Gundagai and Tumut.
Gocup Road is used by large numbers of heavy vehicles predominantly carrying timber and other goods to forestry mills in the Tumut valley.
"That road is such a critical piece of infrastructure," Tumut mayor Trina Thomson said.
"It's not about us wanting a nice road, it's about the long-term future."
Mr Maguire said Wagga residents would also benefit from the budget through more teachers, nurses and police officers.
ROAD MONEY: Tumut Shire Council's director engineering services John Maxwell beside the Gocup Road which desperately needs an injection of cash for improvements.

Labor's reaction

Country Labor's Wagga branch secretary, Tim Kurylowicz, was not impressed with Wagga's slice of the budget pie.
"Mr Maguire is getting on with the job of sitting on his hands while our taxes are reallocated to Western Sydney," Mr Kurylowicz said.
"The $5 million Gocup commitment is just one more tokenistic pledge from a government that has no interest in building better infrastructure.
"This pittance won't fix the pot holes on Gocup road, let alone make it safe."
Mr Kurylowicz was also critical of planning for the base hospital and health funding.
"The Wagga Base Hospital will reach capacity by 2020, just three years after construction finishes," he said.
"I hope the Liberals have a 'stage four' up their sleeves because their investment to date isn't going to meet the shortfalls in health care in our region."
Elsewhere, the budget included $25 million across NSW to upgrade police properties "to address hazardous materials, compliance and safety to provide officers and staff with safe workplaces and housing" but it was not immediately clear if police houses at Ungarie and Barellan - vacated because of asbestos fears - would benefit.

Readers Comments:

 Craig Hesketh:
 I agree with Tim Kurylowicz that $5 million is well below what is ultimately needed to fix Gocup Road. It is also sad there is no money for a palliative hospice or a prostate nurse. Mr Maguire has also claimed that Tumut may get a new hospital if all of our poles and wires are sold off. If I were a resident of Tumut I wouldn't be holding my breath waiting for the announcement. Yet again we will see new roads and rail infrastructure for Sydney and more health spending in the central and northern coastal regions.
There is also no doubt that this budget is a sweetener for voters in marginal seats as the Liberal Government begins to butter up voters for the 2015 election. Blue ribbon seats like Wagga Wagga do not matter.
Maybe it is time to make us marginal. We need representation who fights for our electorate and listens to its people. Not a party yes man.

Eyes Wide Open:
Agreed Craig, no money to fight the drug problem either. Apparently our youth are off Maquire's radar too? Where's the funding for a youth detox and rehab for the region? What no drug problem in the region Mr Maquire?

D. Smith:
Cut foreign aid completely and don't sell the wires would be my suggestion.

Eyes Wide Open:
Gocup Rd has long been a "cash cow" for Tumut Council, they receive money from various places yet very little is spent on the road. This money allocated to the road doesn't necessarily have to be spent on the road, we will see it siphoned off for other "pet" projects. As far as Tumut getting a new hospital, they can't even get a dialysis nurse to run the brand new dialysis unit that has been sitting idle for 2 years. Will this new hospital be another "public private partnership job, seemingly standard practice in the Riverina, a facility many cannot afford to use. Less time in China and more time needed pushing for the needs and concerns of Wagga Mr Maquire. If Maquire is voted out we would do him a huge favour he can spend all of his time in China (20 trips to China already during his time "representing" Wagga). Perhaps even land himself a highly paid job with a Chinese company just like Roozendahl and so many others before him who were elected to represent local people. Hmmm !!

Again DDN, Daryl Do Nothing, claims to be doing the job, well Maquire we see it differently, you are a puppet, but only till , March.

I left Wagga to reside in Sydney in 2001 and I moved back here 2 years ago, upon moving back it was like the place had been stuck in time since I left, awesome job (sic) you're doing Mr Maquire.

A comment submitted to the Daily Advertiser, but not published. The author on-forwarded it to us for publication:
From Erroll NO-NO:
It is indeed surprising that Mr Maquire could make the time to luxuriate in his imagined glory, feigning not to boast about achievements with which he's had little to do - after all, the Voters need to understand that the honourable gentleman can scarcely spare the time following his recent return from China.
He only returns to pick up his Salary and Perks, a suitcase of freshly laundered and dry-cleaned clobber, the short-term delights of drinking Wagga's Town Water, then off to Mother China again on another "Mystery" visit, all "At His OWN EXPENSE" - of course !!!
Whilst the Australian Tax-Payer etc pays Mr Maquire to serve THEIR interests in NSW, he's actually in China NOT serving our interests !!!
Being such a strong proponent of Chinese Investment in NSW, one begins to wonder where his loyalties lie ??!!
Perhaps, because he is so eager about his next trip to China, he is about to be awarded the "MAO TSE TUNG Order of THE THIRD HAND", for services rendered to communist China above and beyond the call of ...... something !!
But, like all your fraternity freely parrot, Mr Maquire, it must be "GOOD FOR AUSTRALIA"!! Yeah, SURE !!!

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