Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke MP has welcomed the NSW 19/20 Budget as a “Budget for the bush”, with more than $300 million committed to the Cootamundra electorate over the next 12 months.

“Our Government made record commitments during the election and I am proud today to see us getting on with it, delivering, without the addition of a single tax,” Ms Cooke said.

“In fact, we’re cutting taxes, with the payroll tax threshold lifting to $900,000 this Financial Year.

“This is a Budget that recognises the diversity in regional economies, supporting our local business people, nurses, police, teachers, youth and our farmers.

“Our electorate is seeing planning funding for the West Wyalong TAFE CLC, $10 million for planning to raise Wyangala Dam Wall, $4.3 million for new glasshouse facilities at the Cowra Ag Research Station, $5 million for planning works to flood-proof the Newell Highway between West Wyalong and Forbes, funding to continue the library project in Young, a reservation of $1.97 million to build the Coolamon Industrial Estate and an additional $355 million in drought support state-wide. 

“These local infrastructure projects are bold, and they represent hundreds of millions of dollars. We need to ensure we invest in planning, important groundwork and consultation and that is exactly what we’re seeing in this Budget,” Ms Cooke added.

Ms Cooke also welcomed the confirmation of $70.2 million for Cowra Hospital, with construction to begin before 2023.

An $18.5 billion spend on education in the 19/20 Budget includes funding to provide a full time psychologist and social worker at every one of the electorate’s public high schools, $449 million to reduce the NSW school maintenance backlog to zero by July 2020, plus $120 million to expand before and after school care and and $20 million to build new preschools.

Further, there is $90 million allocated to the connect Regional NSW program, which will deliver faster internet speeds, better mobile phone coverage, and a potential future of 5G connectivity outside metropolitan NSW.

There is also $500 million over four years to establish the Fixing Local Roads program to assist councils in repairing, maintaining and sealing important local roads and $500 million for the new Fixing Country Bridges program to replace the worst timber bridges in regional and rural communities and funding for the implementation of the Regional Seniors Transport Card.