There is a terrific book by Carl Scully that gives us an insight into what a future Labor Government might look like. Mr Scully was a senior Minister in the 16 years of ALP government from 1995 to 2011. He had a record of getting on with infrastructure, but ultimately the Labor machine pulled him down and the State ground to a halt. He writes of Labor leaders’ fear of building anything ‘because it would upset too many people’ and infrastructure decisions were outsourced to focus groups. When Labor is in government, power ultimately rests with Sussex street. By the end of their term of Government, NSW was the worst performing state in the nation with Government debt of approximately $20billion; an infrastructure backlog of $30billion and a schools maintenance liability of $1billion. That is your hospitals, state roads, bridges, schools and rail that was depreciating and failing the communities of the Hunter. As a ‘safe Labor seat’ , Cessnock was chronically passed over by Labor head office.
But the Labor member for Cessnock writes in his column the financial position of NSW is in jeopardy. A couple of facts the Shadow spokesman for Finance doesn’t seem to grasp. In 2011, the net worth of the state was $145billion. Today it is $226billion. That has happened following prudent financial management by the Liberal Government and asset recycling enabling us to build the infrastructure desperately needed by the families and businesses of NSW. We are annually spending 50% more on capital works than the previous government.
Additionally the strong financial management has enabled the Government to boost the number of nurses,doctors and midwives by 9,397; teachers by 4569; police by 994.
It should concern all of us a shadow finance minister does not appear to understand the transformation of the State and treasury fundamentals.
NSW is now the strongest performing state in Australia and the opportunities for Hunter communities will continue under the NSW Liberal National Government. 2019 will be an opportunity to turn around Cessnock and make sure it is no longer the ‘forgotten’ electorate of NSW Parliament.
Scot MacDonald MLC