Friday, 4 October 2013

The new Nationals Member for Page needs to act quickly if he is to get a decent slice of the regional funding pie

This was the new Nationals Member for Page Kevin Hogan in the local media:

The Northern Star

A CHANGE of government has brought uncertainty to the upgrading of the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange.
The Labor campaign promise of $3.5m to go towards the renovation of the Casino Saleyards has fallen by the wayside with the Coalition now in power.
Newly elected Nationals MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, said all was not lost.
"We didn't make that promise but I really like the idea, as I see the value of contributing to the upgrade of the saleyards," he said.
While Labor's Regional Development fund has been disbanded, Mr Hogan said it would be replaced with the Coalition's Stronger Region fund.
"As soon as their door is open I will have the application on their desk," he said.

However, Member for Page Kevin Hogan is good at multitasking, yesterday packing up his old office while being interviewed for this story simultaneously.
The poll will be officially declared today and he will get the keys to his office.
For his first 100 days of office he has set himself some big goals.....
He planned to roll out funding for the Pacific Hwy upgrade and work toward fulfilling his campaign promises to provide more than $4 million to Ballina District Hospital as well as making installation of CCTV in Casino a priority....

It would appear that Kevin Hogan is very optimistic about his chances of securing funding under the Stronger Regions Fund and is patiently waiting for it to open its doors before acting.

Because under Stronger Regions what will be created are finite area funding pools from a budget of $400 million (with no funds distributed before 2015-16), Mr. Hogan actually needs to be vigourously lobbying now if he is to deliver a local funding arrangement capable of delivering the $3.5 million required for the Casino Regional Livestock Exchange upgrade as well as the many other infrastructure needs of local councils and communities.

Until then, the only money coming into the Page electorate for regional development will be that former Labor Government funding which Treasurer Hockey has been unable to claw back.

As for Ballina Hospital, well that is a costed $5 million Coalition election promise due to be delivered in this financial year. Again Hogan needs to get his skates on and see the hospital funding signed off on as soon as possible because there is a clear intention in the Coalition costings that this financial year it will only be spending $35 million in new funding nation-wide.

When it comes to the $3.6 billion Pacific Highway upgrade funding which Kevin Hogan promised to release and the promised $2.1 billion in extra funding – one has to wonder where it is all coming from.
Coalition election promise costings make no mention of this $5.7 billion and, it appears that for the next three years the Abbott Government will only be spending the same total amount outlined in the former Labor Government’s upgrade plan. In other words no more than $2.5 billion in total.

One also has to wonder where Mr. Hogan’s promise to obtain $463,969 in funding for 55 CCTV cameras in Casino CBD is leading, for the Abbott Government’s Safer Streets Program will not be releasing any funding until the 2014-15 financial year and how much money it holds in hand will likely rely on how much is received by government under Proceeds of Crime legislation.

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