GREG RAY: Fell funding favouritism

MY efforts to raise public support for regions such as the Hunter to be given a fair share of state spending are bearing some fruit.

Not that any politicians appear to be listening – yet.

But plenty of people are outraged at the state government’s stingy attitude towards us and I believe that reform could be possible if that outrage keeps building.

We need people to lobby the federal government to insist that the GST funds it gives to NSW are distributed fairly, and not just swallowed up by Sydney.

We need to demand that the state government enact a charter of budget equity, requiring it to spend its revenue fairly around the whole of NSW.

That should avoid nonsense like the government’s recent announcement that $25billion would be spent on transport in Sydney over the next four years, followed by an announcement of $120million for a new rail terminus in Newcastle.

My argument is that with 10per cent of the state population, the Hunter should get 10per cent of the budget spent on it.

Here are some comments on the subject from online readers:

tina: I have always believed the fairest split of money should be per capita and the fact that our councils and regions don’t demand this just shows how ineffectual they really are.

an aquaduck:  I tend to agree that lacking unity as a region can bring us undone, also that Sydney gets more than its fair share as the politicians in power seem to be gold plating particular places at the expense of others.

The idea of a ‘‘charter of budget equity based on per capita ... non-capital regions’’ makes good sense. 

What is the main reason the state government would object? I would like to know of their response to a question like that.

Mark: Keep highlighting what a raw deal we always get.

The Coalition are showing us that they are no less metrocentric than those before them. 

I’ve long said that all of our Hunter-based MPs should stick together for OUR interests but that will not happen whilst they toe the party line. Now imagine a new party, for example Hunter First or whatever you want to call them. 

They could hold the balance of power in Macquarie Street and start putting real pressure on the other parties whilst not having to bow down to Sydney-motivated leaders.

We can only be hopeful. 

The last we saw anything like this was when we had three local council mayors seeking a Hunter-based alliance in the 2007 election.

Bovver Boy: Sydney is spending billions on FIVE new motorways and freeways down there over the next 18 years.

Imagine all those thousands of extra cars being encouraged into Sydney every day – when their main corridors are already near gridlock most of the time – then add all that extra smog.

And if Sydney real estate prices keep going up, that forces the real workers further out into the suburbs – and they will all be trying to drive into those workplaces that the railway doesn’t reach. 

Will Sydney be demanding even more subsidies from the regions to cover their shortfalls in transport, water, energy and food in 20-30 years?

Probably much better if the regional areas secede from NSW now, rather than waiting until it’s too late.

Tavi: Let’s unite to send the state government a message: if they want any chance of holding on to this seat at the next election please treat the Hunter with more respect. The same goes for Labor. 

JarroDD: This is it!!! We are not anti-development, we just don’t want to be bought for the lowest possible price. 

Light rail to Nobbys would connect the Hunter Valley with foreshore park and the beach, the people’s places. The way it always has been.   


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