The budget handed down today by the NSW Treasurer will support women and families over the long term and there are some solid investments in infrastructure in the Ballina electorate. However, in the short term there is nothing that addresses the acute housing shortage or cost of living pressures.
Ms Smith said, “I welcome the fact that the treasurer has committed to a universal free year of pre-kindergarten and the budget addresses the cost of child care and offers some relief to working families from next year. Lennox Head Public School will see some money this budget going towards the relocation and planning for the new school, and there is money for the Ballina Hospital re-development.”
“It is pretty shocking I think for people in our community that there is nothing in the budget that addresses our acute housing crisis or cost of living pressures in the here and now. Nurses and teachers are getting a pay rise slightly above the public sector wage cap – 3% this year and 3% next year, but when you consider that the cost of inflation is above 5% this represents a pay cut. This is cruel given the heroic work of our nurses and teachers during the pandemic.” Said Ms Smith
“We know that billions are being spent on reconstruction post the floods, but in terms of accessing permanent housing there is nothing in the budget whatsoever for flood affected families beyond temporary housing. More broadly we know that there are staff shortages across most small and medium businesses in the Ballina electorate and nothing in this budget will address what is key to that – no housing.”
“I welcome the investment in the electricity grid for the future in supporting renewable energy –and a continued commitment to solar rooftop. However, given how long people in our community were without power during and after the recent floods, I am very disappointed that battery rebates like the ones in South Australia and Victoria are not part of this budget so that people can prepare for the future.”
“What was starkly missing for me was any reference to adaptation to future natural disasters. Let’s hope that the Reconstruction Corporation is given a budget before they kick off on July 1, so that we can actually see if adaptation and supporting people to prepare for future extreme weather events, is part of the remit.”
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