Asset recycling reaps dividends for regional infrastructure
The successful lease of a 50.4% stake in Ausgrid announced two weeks ago will continue to support the government’s investment in new infrastructure across the state, with 30% of the proceeds going to support regional infrastructure. And we aren’t slowing down.
On Friday, I was pleased to be in Orange to announce that the NSW Government would fast-track the roll out of the replacement for the XPTs that currently run on our regional rail network, with $50 million to start planning to deliver a faster and more comfortable country train fleet.
The existing fleet carries more than a million passengers a year, with carriages that are up to 35 years old. And while we had already committed $35 million to start planning by 2019, we’ve not only brought that forward, we’ve also boosted it to get the ball rolling now and deliver real solutions for country travellers.
With our election announcement of at least $6 billion for regional infrastructure to come from the lease of city electricity assets, we were able to signal a new era of investment in regional NSW. That money is providing a $500 million upgrade to the Newell Highway, securing Broken Hill’s water supply, fixing country rail with a $400 million investment and supporting a $300 million program for the renewal of regional schools.
With the recent electricity transactions being so successful, I am hopeful we will see even more than the $20 billion in proceeds we had originally hoped for. Which will mean even more investment in regional infrastructure.
This simply wouldn’t have been possible without the influence of The Nationals in government. Our sole and very deliberate focus is on delivering the best possible infrastructure and services for the people of regional NSW. It always has been, and it always will be. And I am proud that that focus is reaping dividends for the people we represent.