THE much-anticipated Palliative Care Unit for Wauchope District Memorial Hospital has been given a tick in this year's NSW Budget.
In other good news for Wauchope, $2 million has been allocated toward safety improvements to the Oxley Highway west of Wauchope, and $1 million towards additional passing lanes on the Oxley Highway between Wauchope and the Pacific Highway.
Deputy Premier and Member for Oxley, Andrew Stoner, yesterday said the 2012-13 budget commits to building for the future and invests hundreds of millions of dollars to infrastructure projects in Oxley.
"The centrepiece of this significant infrastructure investment here in Oxley is funding of $940m to be injected into key Pacific Highway projects including Frederickton to Eungai, Oxley Highway to Kempsey, and Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrades," Mr Stoner said.
In addition, the NSW Government has committed $1.5 billion to complete the Pacific Highway duplication by 2016.
"This is also a responsible budget for tough economic times," Mr Stoner said.
"It's a budget that reins in Government expenditure to preserve our State's AAA credit rating while at the same time increasing funding for front-line nurses, teachers and police and record funding in infrastructure.
"In health, there's big money for the Cancer Centre at Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, expansion of Port Macquarie Base Hospital, a Palliative Care Unit at Wauchope, the redevelopment of Kempsey District Hospital and the upgrade of Bellingen Hospital. Funding for nine additional nurses has also been allocated to the Mid-North Coast Local Health District," Mr Stoner said.
Funding has been allocated for school maintenance and a new school for the region at Lake Cathie.
NSW Farmers have responded to the budget, saying regional and rural communities have been overlooked.
Fiona Simson, NSW Farmers president, said the Department of Primary Industries $1.1 billion bumper budget was in fact exactly the same as it was in 2011-12.
"NSW Farmers is also disappointed that no new projects were announced for R&D in rural and regional NSW despite a $1 investment in rural R&D having a return of more than $10."
Federal Member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, said the budget confirmed 'the National Party has overpromised and underdelivered on the Pacific Highway upgrade being completed by 2016'
"The NSW Budget has allocated $3.3 billion to a non-existent rail line in Sydney, when this money could have finished upgrading the Pacific Highway," he said.
The NRMA says funding provided in the State Budget for the Pacific Highway of $1.5 billion, coupled with Federal funding, represents around 70 per cent of the funding needed to finish the highway.
NRMA Motoring & Services president Wendy Machin said the NRMA welcomed the State Governments $1.5 billion commitment but it would not be enough to complete the duplication of the highway by the deadline.