Liberal Holroyd councillor Ross Grove has praised the federal budget as a ‘‘$6.4 billion infrastructure bonanza for western Sydney’’, while Labor’s Greg Cummings is concerned it will not do enough to create employment.
In an emailed statement to the Sun, Cr Grove welcomed what he called the federal government’s ‘‘visionary approach’’ that he said would see western Sydney ‘‘take its rightful place as the centre of growth in Australia’’.
‘‘This was not an easy budget for the new government, but they have kept their eye on the ball when it comes to unlocking the potential of western Sydney,’’ Cr Grove said.
‘‘For all the negatives, if we’re getting the funds to build infrastructure that connects western Sydney to the rest of the world, we’re doing okay when it comes to the feds.’’
Cr Grove said the Abbott government should be applauded for allocating $2.9 billion towards roads to connect to the airport site at Badgerys Creek, and for putting $77.8 million over four years towards the establishment of a dedicated western Sydney infrastructure unit to progress the airport.
He says the government also deserves credit for ‘‘putting their money where their mouth is” and backing Stage 2 of the WestConnex project with $1.5 billion and a $2 billion concessional loan.
But Labor’s Greg Cummings told the Sun he was concerned about budget changes to Medicare and a lack of focus on jobs creation.
‘‘I’m concerned with the charge now for Medicare, that will affect our local residents. I don’t mind the infrastructure, but what we really need is jobs and I don’t see how in the long-term this is going to generate jobs,’’ Cr Cummings said.
‘‘Thirty per cent of school leavers in the western suburbs don’t complete their HSC.’’
Cr Cummings said a tightening of Newstart eligibility would have flow-on effects for families.
‘‘All it’s going to do is force them to stay home longer with mum and dad. Unless there can be some incentives for jobs creation for school leavers, we’re going to have a lost generation stuck in no man’s land. For the great country we have got, I think we could be doing a lot more.”
An organiser for the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, Cr Cummings said he visited two manufacturing companies yesterday that were offering workers voluntary redundancies. One, a company that manufactures meters for reading electricity consumption, will cease manufacturing next year.
‘‘That’s the biggest issue I see for Australia. Where are the semi-skilled and unskilled going to get work? They can’t all work in the retail and service industries.
‘‘If all we’re going to do is import goods and not manufacture ourselves, what do you get? A large shed and a couple of forklift drivers? We need jobs.’’