LYNE MP Rob Oakeshott has struck a deal with the new Labor government worth at least $130 million here.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard also has offered him a role in the cabinet as minister for regional development.
He also is considering the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, he told the Port News yesterday.
Mr Oakeshott’s deal with Labor includes $75 million for the construction of the long-awaited fourth pod, or extension, at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.
There will be $20 million in “seed funding” for a university campus based in Port Macquarie and $35 million to bring forward works on the Port Macquarie to Kempsey section of the Pacific Hwy.
Those were the three main benefits his negotiations would deliver for the town, Mr Oakeshott said.
He added he was yet to make a decision about the offer of a cabinet position or the Speaker’s role.
“[It’s] all pretty fluid at the moment,” he said.
Mr Oakeshott and independent MP for New England Tony Windsor yesterday ended 17 days of intense speculation when they sided with Labor to form a minority government.
In his announcement, Mr Oakeshott said the negotiation process had resulted in a “good local package for a local member to go home and talk to his electorate about”.
“We’ve also got, I think, a regional Australia package that has never been seen before and will turbo-charge regional Australia,” he said.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard later revealed the package would deliver “benefits in the order of $9.9 billion”.
“But that’s a fair share, it’s been worked through with Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor and I thank them for working through that with me and [Treasurer] Wayne Swan,” Ms Gillard said.
Mr Oakeshott indicated at an early stage he had been offered a position to “drive” the regional package.
But he emphasised the potential position was separate from his decision choose Labor over the coalition.
“I didn’t want to have anyone think that there was some dirty deal done,” he said.
Mr Oakeshott also said his decision to back Labor was “an absolute line-ball, points decision, judgment call”.
He emphasised it was “not a mandate for any government”.
“Nor is it an endorsement of anyone, of any philosophy, of any brand, of any campaign.”
The driving factors behind the decision were “stability” and “outcomes”.
Mr Oakeshott said the “big sticking points” for him were broadband, climate change and regional education.
He also outlined the exhaustive process the independent MPs had gone through to make their decision.
“This has been an open process by us and, even if you don’t like the decision, please accept that we’ve given it our best endeavours to make our best judgement call,” he said.
It is believed Mr Oakeshott is due back in Port Macquarie today.