Home General News Perrottet’s pledge on a $25 million bill for the harbor bridge flag plan

Perrottet’s pledge on a $25 million bill for the harbor bridge flag plan

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet has promised to go “line by line” through the $25 million tender to make the Aboriginal flag a permanent addition to the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

The plan to install a third 20-meter flagpole on the bridge for the native flag by the end of the year was part of a pre-state budget announcement on Sunday — but the eight-figure cost has raised eyebrows.

On Sunday, Mr. Perrottet said he was unsure why the project was so expensive.

“But apparently, it does. Apparently, that’s the cost, and I think it’s an important decision we made,” he said.

“I think it brings unity to our country, and it’s a small price to pay for that unification.”

Perrottet's pledge on a $25 million bill for the harbor bridge flag plan

On Monday, he disagreed, agreeing that the bill “fails the pub test”.

“I accept that it is not a simple process and not a simple construction,” he told Sydney Radio 2GB.

“But like most honest people in the state, I’d say it seems to be a pretty ridiculous and outrageous price.”

Mr. Perrottet said there were heritage issues with the bridge and other problems adding to the cost.

“All three poles need to be replaced, and all three are the same size as a six-story building,” he said.

He said he would review the quote and “make sure we bring it down”.

“This is an important project,” he says.

“I don’t want the cost to get in the way of an important decision we have made as a government, which is to fly the Aboriginal flag next to the NSW flag and the Australian flag on the bridge.”

Perrottet said he would work “line by line” with state bureaucrats to “ensure NSW taxpayers get their money’s worth”.

“This should not be divisive,” he said.

In another pre-budget announcement, the state government has announced a shared housing scheme for frontline workers and singles over 50.

Mr. Perrottet said housing affordability was becoming a challenge for families across NSW.

“We are announcing a shared stock plan that will allow our frontline workers, teachers, nurses, and police officers to get a head start and enter the real estate market,” he said on Sunday.

The $780.4 million settlement, announced ahead of Tuesday’s 2022-2023 state budget, is open to 3,000 frontline workers and single parents or adults over 50.

It is open to singles earning up to $90,000 a year or couples earning up to $120,000.

The government contributes up to 40 percent of the equity of a new home and up to 30 percent of an existing home. It requires a 2 percent deposit.

The scheme would tie in with the federal government’s shared-share plan, doubling the number of homes available to frontline workers and singles over 50, Perrottet said.

Eligible properties are limited to $950,000 in metropolitan Sydney and $600,000 in other parts of the state.

Greens housing spokeswoman Jenny Leong criticized the scheme, saying the people most desperate for housing would not qualify.

“This scheme is so limited in terms of who has access to it that it has no benefit to people who qualify and work in the Sydney suburbs, with virtually no properties for a family that meets the price cap,” she said.

The state government has also pledged $37.9 million to improve before and after-school care and $206 million for a sustainable agriculture program.

Mr. Kean said the groundbreaking program would reward farmers who have volunteered to reduce carbon emissions and protect biodiversity.

The NSW government has also pledged $56.4 million to build a four-day hiking trail at the Dorrigo Escarpment through the Gondwana Rainforests on NSW’s mid-north coast.

Following introducing of a new code of conduct this year, approximately $28 million has also been committed to the state’s forestry industry, supporting and training farmers.

Women in small businesses also get free access to TAFE courses and professional advice thanks to $15 million over the next four years.

NSW labor leader Chris Minns called on the government to include urgent living expenses in Tuesday’s budget, saying key measures, including Dine and Discover Vouchers and $265 million in energy rebates, had gone unused in the past year.

“The cost of living is quickly becoming the number 1 issue in NSW – the cost of everything is skyrocketing in NSW, and people just can’t afford it,” said Mr. Minns.

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