Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the 2019-20 Federal Budget delivered millions of dollars in funding for roads and community projects in Armidale and the surrounding area.
So, that money is locked in and, basically even if a future government comes in, they can't reverse it.Barnaby Joyce
"The Budget locked in funding for the $261,000 upgrade of the Station Creek Bridge and Maiden Creek Bridge under the Coalition's Bridges Renewal Program," Mr Joyce said.
It sounded very much like a funding announcement, but Armidale Mayor Simon Murray said the work on the Station Creek Bridge was completed, and Maiden Creek Bridge was 90 per cent finished.
"Just like Bolivia Hill realignment, they nominate the next tranche of funding for the construction of it. So, that money is locked in and, basically even if a future government comes in, they can't reverse it. It's there now, and that's vitally important," Mr Joyce said.
"It's just as important as the money well in excess of $400,000 we're putting on the table for the new CCTV cameras to keep people safe at Dumaresq Creek, and also the CCTV cameras going into Guyra."
"This budget, I believe, has been a good one for the New England."
Mr Joyce said there would be further funding for mobile phone towers and there would be more funding made available to councils for roads, above the $140 million allocated to the New England Highway upgrades funded under the Roads of Strategic Importance program.
"I can't think of a road that needs more work done on it than the Kempsey to Armidale Road, and that's one of my key priorities going forward," he said.
"Working with the council I hope we can get a lot more money spent on that road, whether we get up to the $60 million [needed] I don't know, but working with the State we will most certainly get an improvement."
We've got a backlog of local infrastructure because the local ratepayer base is no longer able to cover it.Adam Blakester
Independent candidate for New England Adam Blakester said this budget was very clearly one to buy votes. He said it had not been debated or passed by Parliament, so its promises were simply not funded.
"We're expecting an election to be called any day now, and I think that is reflected in the short-term nature of some of the promises that have been made," he said.
"My understanding is the Senate had its last sitting day on Wednesday, so I don't know what happens with the budget now.
"What is a concern coming through to me from people right across the electorate, with regards to roads and infrastructure more generally, is a structural problem that's not new or unique to the New England. We've got a backlog of local infrastructure because the local ratepayer base is no longer able to cover it."
Mr Blakester said the Australian Local Government Association had called for an allocation of 1 per cent of the Federal Budget to be able to properly resource local roads infrastructure.
"That's the kind of strategic measure we need to be sorting out," he said.
"There are structural problems there because of rate pegging and, in simple terms, local governments everywhere have got rising costs for local infrastructure and services.
"They are unable to raise any further revenue and that's a structural problem that needs to be addressed nationally."