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What’s in the budget for city?

Tuesday, 13th September, 2011

The Broken Hill Branch of the ALP is calling on member for Murray-Darling, John Williams, to “clearly identify” how the local electorate benefits from the recent budget.

The local branch said Mr Williams had aimed to defend the electorate when he was elected, yet a close reading of the budget shows nothing of significance for the city.

“Mr Williams acknowledged the importance of sealing the Tibooburra Road, the proposed haulage road, and it is more than disappointing that nothing has been announced in the way of funding,” said branch President, Darriea Turley.

“Given the other cuts to funding which will adversely affect pensioners and others on low incomes, especially those who rely on public housing, it is hard to see how Broken Hill can benefit.

“Before the last state election in March, Labor candidate Neville Gasmier warned that Mr Williams would be a very small National Party fish in a big Liberal pond. How true that prediction has turned out to be.”

Ms Turley said that a plan to axe 5,000 public sector jobs was also of great concern.

“Something seems dreadfully familiar in this situation. During the Greiner years, a Liberal government did the same thing. What happened then was that local public service jobs were abolished and we were told that Broken Hill could be just as effectively serviced from Dubbo.

“Adding insult to injury is the decision, one of the first made by this government, to lower real incomes of public servants by legislating a cap on pay increases which is less than inflation.

“Mr Williams should give his constituents an ironclad guarantee that no public service jobs will be lost from this electorate.”

The criticism comes as Mr Williams joined NSW Deputy premier, Andrew Stoner, in spruiking the government’s Jobs Action Plan.

Under the plan, businesses that increase employment levels will not pay any payroll tax on additional employees for their first year of employment.

The pair said that 900 jobs had been created in regional NSW since the plan was launched in July this year, including 44 in Broken Hill.

“It’s been less than six months since the election and I’m happy to report that we’re delivering on our promise to create jobs in regional areas,” said Mr Stoner.

Mr Williams said it was encouraging to see local industry embracing the plan, and credited it with the creation of 62 new jobs in the area.

“This includes 44 jobs in Broken Hill and 18 jobs in Wentworth Shire Council,” he said.

“Before the election we said the creation of jobs was one of our top priorities, so it’s great to see some positive results.”

Mr Williams’ office was unable to specify the nature of the 44 jobs created in Broken Hill as the information is considered confidential.

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