Budget will be tough: Cansdell
"I'M NOT expecting much tomorrow; it's going to be a very tough Budget."
That was Clarence MP Steve Cansdell speaking yesterday about what he expected from the O'Farrell Government's first Budget, which will be handed down in Sydney tonight.
Mr Cansdell spoke to The Examiner shortly after arriving at Parliament House to prepare for what is likely to be a tough Budget with very few pleasant surprises.
"I know this sounds political but after 16 years of (Labor's) waste, the revenue's plateaued and the expenditure's started to spiral," Mr Cansdell said.
"I'm hoping for funding for the Pacific Highway - I think that has to be a priority.
"But everything else, I believe, was put on hold for the next couple of years."
Mr Cansdell said there were two things he was particularly hoping for.
The first was funding for the Pacific Highway; the other was that no state government jobs in the Clarence Valley would be cut.
In fact, Mr Cansdell said there was a chance the opposite could be the case.
"Hopefully, with a few things we're working on, I'd like to see a build up of jobs in some departments," he said.
Mr Cansdell said he wasn't overly confident of extra money coming out of the Budget for more police.
Instead, he said he hoped the police review headed by Peter Parsons would help show the Clarence Valley was under-policed.
"When this review comes out it will show where tweaks are needed," Mr Cansdell said.
"And with 20% of the police force off on long-term sick leave, there'll be recommendations to get them back to work.
"I'm confident, and I hope I'm not being over-confident, that with the next release of police - 500 in December - that we will get a reasonable percentage of those up on the North Coast."
Mr Cansdell said the government's first Budget needed to be tough to get the state's economy back under control.
"It (the Budget) is not going to be a windfall for anybody, I don't think," he said.
"But I would like to see decent funding for the highway because that has been a priority by all of government and let's hope they can keep that."
Mr Cansdell said the O'Farrell Government was hoping to get the Budget back into surplus within three years.