TOWARDS the end of Labor's long reign in Macquarie Street between 1995 and 2011, the Coalition opposition made plenty of mileage out of accusing the government of dressing up old announcements and presenting them as something new.
Indeed, a $30 billion infrastructure plan in 2005 by then premier Bob Carr during his "Bob the Builder" days was picked apart by the opposition as "the mother of all re-announcements".
Fast forward to yesterday's Budget by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, and with the Coalition closing in on ten years on the government benches, and the positions are reversed, with Labor able to quickly point to a series of budget infrastructure items that appear to be either old promises that have slipped their schedules, or dribs and drabs of planning money, rather anything more substantial.
The freight corridor seems to be perpetually the subject of further study, while the interchange - an otherwise logical joining of Cardiff and Glendale - has been talked down by state planners despite the cases put by Lake MPs, councillors and the community.
Labor MPs from the Hunter and the Illawarra were united yesterday in outrage at their electorates being seemingly ignored when it came to important bricks and mortar projects.
Maitland was one exception, with $220 million allocated for the new Maitland Hospital, but as construction is well under way, that amount of funding is a given if the project is to be finished on time.
Otherwise, the view from almost anywhere in NSW is that the government's focus is worryingly Sydney-centric.
The government can rightly argue that most of the population live there, and so the state's capital will always get the lion's share of the attention.
But the government must surely know that if it wants to arrest - or at least slow - Sydney's inexorable expansion, then it needs to show more love to the regions.
While some of the funding may be less than hoped for, the amounts allocated largely reflect that stage at which the respective projects have reached and importantly ensure that the projects do not stall.Hunter Business Chamber
This government often promotes its infrastructure programs in the name of job-creation, but the real unemployment problems are not in the wealthy zones of Sydney, where much of the work is under way.
COVID obviously makes this a budget like no other in recent history, but the impact of coronavirus has been felt everywhere.
This budget will be closely inspected to ensure the remedies are fairly spread.
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