Local MPs slam city-centric funding

NORTH Coast Opposition MPs have slammed the NSW Labor Government's decision to spend $10 million on an extension to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Ballina MP Don Page said the decision to spend such a large amount of money on a new art gallery when 400 jobs were being cut from the North Coast Area Health Service demonstrated the city-centric nature of Nathan Rees' vision and the Government's skewed priorities.

“As well as the health cuts, we've had $360 million of funding slashed from the Pacific Highway upgrade budget,” Mr Page said.

He said this announcement brought to mind the appalling decision to spend $30 million in the first year in establishing a V8 Supercar race circuit at Homebush.

Lismore MP Thomas George said the decision to spend $10 million on a new art gallery was another example of the Rees Government ignoring the urgent needs of country people.

“Extra funding is so badly needed to help the North Coast Area Health Service meet its obligations, especially stage three of Lismore Base Hospital,” Mr George said.

“Health facilities are so vital to regional folk and they would much prefer $10 million to be spent on health than on enhancing the social aspects of life for Sydneysiders.”

The decision to spend $10 million on the Museum of Contemporary Art also comes in the wake of State Government moves to close the Department of Primary Industries station at Alstonville, cuts to the school bus subsidy, and a decision to defer the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale Pacific Highway upgrade for two years.

Another local project put in the don't-hold-your-breath-for-funding basket by the State Government is the return of trains to the Casino to Murwillumbah line.

Mr Rees announced the art gallery funding just days before he marked 100 days in office yesterday with the introduction of a $2.50 public transport tickets for families on Sundays.

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said the premier's first 100 days had been marked by wrong decisions, wrong priorities and a disregard for the truth.



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