NSW state budget 2017 | Hewson’s View

Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson believes the Berejiklian government has handed down what will be a popular budget.

The Highlands has received little direct funding apart from funding for the Bowral Hospital redevelopment and the new Southern Highlands Police Station but Mr Hewson said the budget overall was a positive one.

“Their focus is obviously on issues they think are of local significance,” he said.

“It’s all about the number of new schools and the number of new hospitals. I think the money being spent on schools and hospitals will be most welcome.”

However the budget has not delivered any new schools or upgrades to existing schools for the Highlands and $5 million was allocated in the 2017/18 budget for the hospital’s redevelopment.

But there are some wins for the community in the education sector.

Over four years $46 million of funding has been allocated for the Connecting Country Schools program which aims to boost wireless access and internet capacity for regional schools.

Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell said Bowral Public School had already submitted an application for funding through this program.

With an increase of meningococcal recently. $4.5 million has been allocated for students in Years 11 and 12 to be vaccinated.

Parents will be able to apply for a $100 rebate for each school aged child every year as part of the Active Kids Rebate which can be put towards sporting club registrations or the cost of lessons.

But while it may not be what Highlanders were hoping for, Mr Hewson said the state was in a strong financial position.

“It’s a pretty easy time to run a budget surplus. There’s been some big assets sold and a couple of strong revenue items.

“They’re doing a pretty good management job with that and running a tight fiscal ship.”

The NSW economy is now one of the strongest in the country and Mr Hewson said the government appeared to be doing a good job at keeping it that way for the time being.

“I think they’ll be seen as responsible and in tune with the needs of local communities.”

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