Lismore MP Thomas George.
Lismore MP Thomas George.

MPs push for budget changes

LISMORE MP Thomas George says he has already begun pushing for the State Government to overturn a rent hike for single pensioners in public housing.

The $15 per fortnight increase has been slammed by the Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Association, which has accused the Government of using some of the state's poorest residents to "shore-up" NSW's Triple A credit rating.

Association policy coordinator Paul Versteege said the increase meant the State was backing off from an agreement with the Federal Government to quarantine a $30 a week increase given to pensioners in 2009.

Mr George said MPs were not warned of the increase before the budget speech although they had been told to brace themselves.

Mr George said he was "alarmed" at the rent increase and would "be making representations" to shield pensioners from the rent hike.

Beyond that, Mr George and other North Coast MPs said they were happy with the budget.

Ballina MP Don Page said $2 million set aside for a rail feasibility study on the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line had expanded to include a full integrated regional transport study that Northern Rivers councils and the local office of Regional Development Australia have been pushing for.

The MPs were also pleased with a commitment to employ extra nurses, police and teachers.

Clarence MP Steve Cansdell said he wanted to see enough extra police in Richmond Local Area Command for a 24-hour station at Casino.

Mr George said MPs would need to push together for a major share of the extra officers to Richmond, Clarence and Tweed-Byron commands.

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