Ballina Greens candidate pictured during voting today.
Ballina Greens candidate pictured during voting today.

Smith calls on government to honour Ballina promises

ON THE eve of the NSW budget Tamara Smith has called on the Baird government to keep their election promises for the Ballina Electorate.

The Greens member for Ballina said she supported many of the government's commitments promised during this year's election campaign.

"The Government made a number of significant promises to the electorate of Ballina for important community services and infrastructure, and I expect them to live up to those promises in the Budget," she said.

Education and health funding were significant issues for the electorate, Ms Smith said.

"There are significant financial resources needed in health and education infrastructure on the North Coast particularly in new buildings and improvements at local high schools," she said.

"The $40million commitment to Ballina High Schools needs to be based on genuine community consultation about what is best for the Ballina community, existing schools and future opportunities for students in Ballina. "Funding to finish the Byron Central Hospital is needed and there is strong community support for a funding commitment to deliver upgrades to the emergency room and for a new operating theatre at Ballina Hospital."

Funding for recycling and green waste initiatives were welcomed by Ms Smith.

"I look forward to seeing investment in local recycling centres and support for a Green Bin Scheme for Byron Shire," she said.

"This electorate is internationally known for its clean and green image and we should be the leaders in recycling and waste management.

"The new centres will help reduce illegal dumping and ensure we are reducing litter entering our waterways and the ocean."

Securing funding to improve regional transport is on Ms Smith's agenda.

"While there is a regional transport plan, it lacks a comprehensive public transport strategy," she said.

"Funding is needed to support the development and then implementation of a strategy that links transport services to meet the needs of local residents and visitors to our region.

"There is also a need for more investment in active transport infrastructure including cycle ways and footpaths."

Ms Smith hasn't lost sight of the polarising issue of CSG in the region.

"Parliament should have the ability to legislate in the public interest and cancel coal seam gas licences without compensation and have proposed legislation to do that," she said.

"If the Government plans to pursue a buy-back of PEL445 and compensation for Metgasco, it needs to ensure there is sufficient funding allocated to do that.

"The community didn't ask for this industry and it should have to pay to tell them to leave the Northern Rivers."

The Ballina Sports Centre was desperately needed for the growing community, Ms Smith said.

"The Ballina Sports Centre has the strong backing of the community and local council and now it is time for the Government to get behind this important project with funding," she said.

Government election promises for Ballina:

Upgrade Ballina High Schools - $40 million.

Upgrade Alstonville High School - $1.5 million

Upgrade Waterlily Park, Ocean Shores - $250,000

Construct new Byron Central Hospital - $1.5 million

Upgrade Boating Infrastructure - $2.78 million

Recycling centres at Ballina and Byron Bay - $220,000

Green Bin Program for Byron Bay - $745,000

Ballina projects requiring funding

Ballina Sports Centre - $25 million

Ballina Marine Rescue Tower - $850, 000

Active transport improvements - $5.5 million

Ballina hospital upgrades - $8 million

Public transport improvements - To be determined.

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