With the Federal budget to be handed down on Tuesday, Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP has called on the government to invest in the South Coast to help with local recovery.
After being hard hit by drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19 this year, Fiona Phillips said it was vital that the South Coast received targeted support in the Federal budget. However, only this week the government announced a new regional recovery fund that appears to exclude the South Coast.
“We need dollars hitting the ground locally now. So far, too much of what we have seen from the government are flashy announcements and false promises,” Fiona Phillips warned.
“The government’s regional recovery fund will supposedly target regions suffering from drought, bushfires and the pandemic – so I was flabbergasted that this does not appear to include the South Coast,” she said.
The Member for Gilmore said the government needed to forget the pork barrelling and get serious about recovery by focusing on five key priority areas in this year’s budget:
- Roads – including bringing forward more funding for the Princes Highway projects such as the Milton-Ulladulla Bypass and the Jervis Bay Road intersection, as well as local roads such as Currarong Road, the East Arterial Road and roads impacted by this year’s natural disasters.
- Health services – including investment in acute mental health services at the new Eurobodalla Hospital and the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital redevelopment.
- Supporting vulnerable locals – including investment in affordable housing projects such as in Bomaderry, supporting local community services doing it tough and reversing cuts to JobSeeker and JobKeeper.
- Tourism support – including targeted support for travel agents and the events industry, as well as local projects such as the Mogo Adventure Trail Hub and the Kiama Arts Precinct.
- Bushfire preparedness – including a new Regional Integrated Emergency Services Precinct in Moruya, bushfire proofing local evacuation centres and community halls, fixing mobile black spots along the Princes Highway and making sure telecommunications and electricity services are disaster-proof.
“Targeted investment in these areas will be key to getting our community back on our feet and ensuring our social and economic recovery is not delayed,” Mrs Phillips said.
“I am asking the government to end the flashy announcements and make sure we get support now. I don’t want to see our community left behind,” she concluded.