Both major parties have been making some big funding promises heading into the election so here they are locked in! regardless of outcome, let’s just hope they stick to them and a few more good ones come the Hunter’s way before election day.
Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen and Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional John Barilaro have announced the Nationals in government would “go it alone” and commit the full $266 million required to fund the New England Highway Bypass at Muswellbrook.
Joining Mr Johnsen in Muswellbrook, Mr Barilaro said that following the completion of a report into the bypass route, a preferred corridor has been identified, and construction would commence as soon as 2022.
“The community has been calling on us to get on with building the bypass, with Michael Johnsen lobbying consistently for the Government to get on with funding and construction, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Mr Barilaro said.
“We were waiting for our federal counterparts to make their own funding commitment, but rather that waiting for that to happen, we’ve decided to go ahead and fully fund the project ourselves as a state government.
“In government we have worked hard to put ourselves in the financial position where we can fund projects as large as this, when there is a clear and pressing need for it to get done. In short, we want to get on with the job so we can deliver this vital project,” he said.
In addition, a Daley Labor Government will also allocate $100 million to accelerate the construction of the Singleton Bypass and to get the project shovel ready. This work will be done in partnership with a Federal Labor Government that will allocate $250 million to the Singleton Bypass.
Upper Hunter Candidate for Labor Mel Dagg says this funding news is fantastic for the region and great for tourism but the real fight she has been concentrating on given her tight ties with the mining industry, is the casualisation.
“Wages and conditions in the industry are secured by workers, fighting for a fair go in unity with their union. But the pendulum has shifted, and we have seen unsociable rosters and an increasing reliance on a casualised workforce. This has significantly undermined existing pay and working conditions, making it increasingly difficult to negotiate new enterprise agreements,” says Mel.
“It is clear that this is being used as a deliberate strategy to replace permanent workforces with ones without job security. In some instances, nearly half the workforce has been contracted and not directly employed. The growing prevalence of these arrangements create risks to the security of workers’ accrued entitlements when subcontracting companies go broke.”