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Job cuts to fund highway

MONEY saved from the thousands of NSW public service jobs cuts arising from next Tuesday's state budget will be used to fix the Pacific Hwy says North Coast Nationals MP Don Page.

The NSW Public Service Union claims the 1.2% annual cap set to be placed on key government agencies will result in massive job losses throughout the state including the northern region.

Mr Page was following on from a statement made by Nationals Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, and said while he had not been told if workers on the North Coast would be caught up in the budget fallout, he did know the region was going to do "very well" out of infrastructure spend.

When asked if he was referring to Pacific Hwy upgrades he said "yes".

He said all governments needed to keep control of expenses to fund infrastructure and he expected the budget would deliver funding for the Pacific Hwy and other road projects in the region.

Fellow North Coast National Chris Gulaptis could not promise local jobs would not be affected by the cap.

Forestry and RTA jobs in the Northern Rivers have been tipped by a government source to be among the first to go, but Clarence MP said did not know what was in the budget.

He said he hoped there would not be any job losses but admitted "times are tough".

Before last year's state election, former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell told the Daily Examiner RTA jobs in the Clarence Valley and other regional agencies were in no danger of being axed by the Coalition.

He said the only jobs in danger were back room positions in the city and country public service jobs had been "quarantined".

Mr Gulaptis would not be drawn on whether he had been given the same assurance as his predecessor.

"I don't know what to expect," Mr Gulaptis said

"The Treasurer keeps his budget close to his chest."

Treasure Mike Baird refused to say if North Coast workers would be impacted.

He said the budget was under "intense pressure" as a result in a $5billion drop in GST revenue.

He admitted the job cuts were among the "difficulty decisions" made in the budget but said he did not expect the number of losses to reach 10,000.

Topics:  don page, job cuts, nsw state budget, pacific highway



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