Chris Gulaptis speaks to the crowd at Grafton Base Hospital.
Chris Gulaptis speaks to the crowd at Grafton Base Hospital. Caitlan Charles

Gulaptis hits back over Cansdell health claims

MEMBER for Clarence Chris Gulaptis has hit back at Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Steve Cansdell over his claims the government had abandoned regional areas in health funding.

Mr Gulaptis pointed to the $17.4 million upgrade for the new Ambulatory Care Unit at the Grafton Base Hospital and othher local health wins including community health centres in Yamba, Coraki and Evans Head.

Mr Cansdell claimed that according to the Auditor-General's report, over the past six years to 30 June 2018, 18.5 per cent of payments [to the Restart NSW Fund] have gone to [country] areas."

"However, Section 9 of the Restart NSW Fund Act 2011 requires the State Government to spend 30 per cent of money in the fund on rural infrastructure projects," Mr Cansdell said.

"The Auditor-Generals report is a snap-shot of payments out of the $30 billion Restart NSW fund, 30 per cent of which the Nationals secured for infrastructure projects across regional NSW," Mr Gulaptis said.

"It is not an annual target rather one to be met over the life of the Fund. Regional NSW will receive its entire share of funding under the Fund.

"The Restart Fund was also oppoed by both the Shooters party and Labor."

Mr Gulaptis said that this week, the Government announced key priorities for the $4.2 billion proceeds of the sale of the Snowy Hydro to the Commonwealth.

"The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government has committed every cent of the proceeds under the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund to be spent in regional NSW, backing transformational projects to build on the rapid growth and opportunities in the regions," he said.

"Claims the Clarence is not getting its fair share of funding from Sydney are quite laughable to be honest as anyone who has been anywhere near the Pacific Highway the Grafton Bridge or the new jail will confirm," he said.

"On top of this, over the last six months alone the Nationals have poured over $17 million into sporting, community and cultural projects across the Clarence Valley under the Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Gulaptis said that "the current far right shooters candidate for Clarence" had achieved precious little for over eight long years before resigning in disgrace for lying to the authorities.

"And that when he was part of a significant party," Mr Gulaptis said.

"The most he could hope to achieve if elected is to watch his party trying and blackmail the Government into relaxing gun laws."