Recently it was announced a Mudgee school would benefit from $100,000 thanks to the Nationals state government to upgrade their toilet facilities, but it it's worth remembering that announcements like these this close to an election are not a sure thing.
It was a crowded announcement, with Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro along with current member for Dubbo, Troy Grant and Nationals candidate Dugald Saunders in attendance.
The announcement, according to a press release from John Barilaro's office said that Mudgee Public School will be benefit from 'an investment of $100,000 from the NSW Nationals in Government.'
Principal of Mudgee Public School, Alan Kerr was asked if the funding was immediately available to the school.
"No news yet on the time frame for the funding, Only a very recent announcement so probably more information soon," he said.
The Mudgee Guardian reached out to Nationals candidate, Dugald Saunders to clarify some aspects of the announcement, including whether the money for the school is dependent on the Nationals winning the state election in March.
Via his campaign manager, Dugald responded to the question of 'Is the funding dependent on the Nationals winning the election?' with 'Yes. The funding will be available if the Nationals/Liberal government is returned to office,' the reply said.
Clarifying further, the Mudgee Guardian also asked if the announced funding would still be available if another party was to win the seat of Dubbo in the upcoming state election.
'You would need to ask the other parties this question.' was his answer.
So the Mudgee Guardian reached out to the other four candidates for the seat of Dubbo, you can read their statements below.
Story continues below responses
Stephen Lawrence (Country Labor)
Either basic services and funding are needed or not surely?
The Nationals have this nasty habit in government of rolling out late piecemeal announcements and using them to buy votes by saying, "vote for us or else".
People are just so sick of it. Labor has solid state wide policies. The fact is $810,000 extra will go to Mudgee Public School in the first three years of a federal Labor government.
At a state level we will significantly boost overall spending, as well as air conditioning all learning spaces, funding every P&C with $5000 a year and making sure all new schools have child care.
Labor is the only choice if you wanted boosted spending on education.
Matthew Dickerson (Independent)
It is excellent to see this Government finally giving money to important educational facilities in Mudgee.
It does seem disappointing that such basic infrastructure – such as toilet facilities – are the subject of election announcements. These facilities should be at the required standard as a normal part of the process of running a good Government.
The fact that an election promise needs to be made in relation to upgrade toilet facilities begs the question as to the entire administration of this Government.
What is embarrassing for this Government is that it required Ashley Walker, a student from the school, to send a letter to the Premier last year to plead for better facilities – and it has still been kept back as an election promise. Keep in mind that all of these announcements have one common theme.
This is a Government using our money to try and buy our votes.
Lara Quealy (Shooters, Fishers, Farmers)
The current government have been making conditional promises such as this all around NSW in the lead up to the election.
While I can't promise specific funding, if I'm elected as the Dubbo candidate I promise that I will fight for this region and the small towns and localities within it. I have lived in this region all my life and see the dire need for regional schools to receive more funding.
Although the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party is a minor party, we will be able to hold either the Liberal/National Coalition or Labor to account after March 23rd. The SFF can do this in a way other parties and Independents can not.
The Shooters,Fishers and Farmers have held the LNP to account in Orange, with my colleague Phil Donato. I will do the same for Mudgee and the Dubbo electorate.
Rod Pryor (Greens)
Announcements like these need to be called out for what they are and that is poor media attention grabs.
The voting public has become disaffected by politics and are right to be cynical about these small funding promises just weeks out from an election. West of the "sandstone curtain" we get offered a few crumbs while the coalition waste tens of billions on a motorway no one wants except the developer.
Was Gladys Berejiklian's offer of funding for the Orange stadium a carrot or a bribe? More on that subject ,is it really democracy when candidates say you need to have a representative with a seat at the table of government.
The wealth of the state should be equally shared between the electorates and distributed where needed not on the whim of a member who may happen to be your representative in parliament.This point may be mute if Dugald wins he may not get a seat at the table.
To try and answer the question "would I strive to honour this announcement".
The Greens are committed to the Gonski formula and the School resources standard and strive for better outcomes for all public schools. I would not make any promises conditional.
The Mudgee Guardian has reached out to Dugald Saunders and John Barilaro for further comment, asking:
'If another candidate [from another party] is elected to Dubbo but the coalition retains the state government, will the announced funding still be honoured?'
Their response below:
If elected, the NSW Nationals will honour its commitment to invest $100,000 for the much needed redevelopment of the toilet blocks at Mudgee Public School.
That is an ironclad guarantee.
When it comes to investing in our schools, we know there is plenty more to do.
That’s why the NSW Liberal & Nationals Government announced a further investment of $449 million to clear the state wide school maintenance backlog by July 2020, bringing the total investment in school infrastructure to nearly $1.3 billion.
We are making the largest investment into public school infrastructure by any State government in Australian history.
The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government inherited the worst performing economy in Australia from the former Labor government, including a $1 billion school maintenance backlog, crippling our local schools.
Without a strong economy you can’t have a plan for our future. Labor’s track record is to make promises and under deliver.
That is unacceptable when you are talking about the health and wellbeing our children.
Separately, the Nationals have been accused of announcing conditional funding ahead of the election, with NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian announcing $25 million for a sports precinct for Orange, but only if Nationals candidate for Orange Kate Hazelton is elected in March.
Confusing matters further, leader of the Nationals Party in NSW, Deputy Premier, John Barilaro contradicted the Premier's statement and back flipped, saying the money was no longer dependent upon his party's candidate, Kate Hazelton, defeating member for Orange Phil Donato at the election.
"If Kate's not part of that, that's fine, we'll deal with that election commitment," he said.
But just hours later, the Premier reiterated her earlier comments that the election of Kate Hazelton was essential for the money to be forthcoming.
It's worth pointing out that while this piece focuses on the Nationals announcement, this applies to all parties this close to an election.