Regional NSW at the heart of 2017-18 Budget
There is no question about it; this Budget delivers for rural and regional NSW!
We have delivered a budget for our hardworking regional communities. Communities that contribute 30 per cent of our gross state product boast the strongest job growth in regional Australia and home to 40 per cent of the State’s population.
This is a budget for all of NSW because that is what good Governments do.
The 2017-18 NSW Budget is forecasting a $4.5 billion surplus.
This is the direct result of six years of strong fiscal management by the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government.
We are delivering on our 2015 election commitment to provide 30 per cent of the proceeds from the partial lease of the state’s poles and wires to be invested in regional NSW.
By June 2017, around $9.1 billion will be committed or reserved for projects and programs right across regional NSW including:
- More than $550 million in rural and regional hospitals and health facilities, including projects in Tweed, Goulburn, Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga, Macksville, Wyong, Mudgee, Maitland, Albury, Cooma, Inverell and Lismore.
- 8 additional positions for palliative care specialists in regional and remote locations and 300 scholarships for palliative care training in regional and rural local health districts.
- $2.2 billion over the next 2 years to build 36 new or upgraded schools in regional NSW
- $46 million to upgrade wifi in more than 900 regional and remote schools
- $1 billion to the Safe and Secure Water Program, which will provide water security for towns and cities across regional NSW including Broken Hill.
- $177 million to Local Land Services
- $2.0 billion for the Regional Road Freight Corridors program to upgrade key regional highways,
- $582.5 million for the Regional Road Freight Corridor program to create safer, more efficient road freight corridors
- $38.6 million for Bridges for the Bush to replace or upgrade bridges in regional New South Wales, including Bruxner Highway and Tabulam Bridge.
A cornerstone of the 2017-18 budget is an additional $1.3 billion for regional NSW under the new Regional Growth Fund.
This provides $1.3 billion in addition to the previous $6 billion investment under Rebuilding NSW.
The Regional Growth Fund will turbo-charge Regional NSW, investing in the types of local infrastructure that will make a real difference to communities across the state.
Whether it is upgrading telecommunications, accessing water supplies, or enhancing sporting venues the Regional Growth Fund will build the regional infrastructure so that regional businesses and communities continue to thrive into the future.
The $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund includes 6 programs:
- Growing Local Economies – delivering on the principles set out in our Regional Development Framework to unlock the economic potential of regional towns and cities, and create jobs.
- Regional Sports Infrastucture – supporting participation and high achievement in regional sporting communities.
- Connecting Country Communities – improving telecommunication connectivity in regional NSW to drive economic growth.
- An additional $50m for Resources for Regions – continuing our landmark program that delivers infrastructure and community requirements in mining-affected communities.
- Stronger Country Communities Fund – investing in projects that improve local amenities for residents, such as upgrades to parks or community centres.
- Regional Cultural Fund – building and upgrading arts and cultural venues including art galleries, libraries, performance spaces and cultural centres.
Over the next few months, I will be travelling to communities across our great regions to ensure that we build the projects and amenities our communities need and deserve.
And of course, your local Member of Parliament will be the best point of contact for more information on all Regional Growth Funds.