Coffs' State Budget wish list

WISH lists for today’s State Budget range from library books to bridges and from straying dogs and cats, to kerbing and gutters.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser wants to see increased recurrent funding for health, money for the Pacific Highway and a new court house and police station for Coffs Harbour.

“There have been too many incidents at the court house and the police are working in what I call squalid conditions,” Mr Fraser said.

“I’m sick and tired of meetings and plans - I want to see some money.

“We had a plan in 1996 when we were in government and (former NSW Labor Premier Bob) Carr ditched it.

“We need more recurrent funding for health – it is pathetic that they are still laying off nurses.”

He said $300 million had been cut out of Pacific Highway funding last year and Urunga “should have been bypassed ages ago”.

Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades wants to see an injection of funding into a road reconstruction program like those the council undertook in Sawtell and Woolgoolga during the mid 1990s.

“People get great delight from streets being upgraded but the cost of kerbing and guttering of local streets makes it nearly prohibitive,” Cr Rhoades said.

He said the 2.6 per cent rate pegging limit set for the year ahead by the State Government meant the Coffs Harbour council was $200,000 “behind the eight ball”.

“There needs to be a program similar to the Federal Government’s Roads to Recovery program to upgrade local road networks,” Cr Rhoades said.

He took a swipe at the State Government’s pursuit of major events, saying the NSW government had told Coffs Harbour it could not help with flood mitigation but was “spending $35 million to try to buy a car race.”

Nambucca Shire Council Mayor Rhonda Hoban wants to see an actual allocation of funds for the Pacific Highway, especially the section between Warrell Creek and Urunga, plus an urgent bypass of the Macksville traffic bridge.

“I’d like to be able to go around it before it falls down,’ Mrs Hoban said.

She would also like to see a state-wide 50-50 timber bridge replacement program and upgrading of the railway bridges which are a State Government responsibility, so that the load limits on those bridges could be removed.

Mrs Hoban said there were two railway bridges at Browns Crossing south of Macksville which could not legally be crossed by council road graders, water tankers, fuel tankers or septic pump-out trucks.

“I’d like them to cough up their fair share for libraries,” Ms Hoban said.

“It is a free service and every year for the last four years we have put up our contribution 10 per cent, with our rates pegged to 2.6% (increase) but it is almost 30 years since the State Government has increased its allocation – it’s just dwindling away.”

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