Councillor Andrew Guile applauded the government’s attempt at bringing down the budget deficit but was concerned about the financial impact on the Shoalhaven.
He believes a lack of roads funding to complete the Princes Highway upgrade and a freeze on the funds distributed to local government fund will hurt the region.
“In general terms to reduce the deficit over the next four years is a good achievement and one that had to be done,” Cr Guile said.
“However I’m disappointed not to see any contribution on roads toward stage three of the Princes Highway.
“Stage three remains unfunded and without any Federal contribution.”
Mr Guile thought last night was the perfect opportunity for the government to make that contribution commitment.
He said instead South Coast motorists will be making a contribution by paying the extra fuel excise with little coming back.
On the issue of the $10 million for planning the next Shoalhaven River crossing, Mr Guile saw that as a deferment of the project.
“If we are planning that bridge in the not too distant future, why are we taking five years to plan it. “That sounds like we’re stalling the issue and I’m concerned about that. “
Cr Guile’s other major concern was the three-year freeze on the Federal Financial Assistance Grants.
Shoalhaven City Council receives between $2 million and $2.5million each year from the grants.
“That freeze saves the government something like $950 million which in real terms is a cut to local government,” Cr Guile said.
“I don’t understand why we get these piece-meal federal grants like $1.2million footpaths when the bulk of the fund that provides services to the area has been cut.
“At the end of the day that money still has to come from somewhere.
“I think it will put pressure on rates in the future.”