Regional NSW has a once-in-a-generation opportunity, with a $6 billion investment secured to rebuild and improve our roads, water security, schools and healthcare, to improve our towns.
The NSW Government has a clear plan to rebuild this State – to lease 49 per cent of the State’s poles and wires and free $20 billion worth of capital for infrastructure works. Importantly, this will exclude our regional electricity networks.
Your Nationals in Government fought for a fair share of this funding for Regional NSW. We are achieving maximum benefit for our communities, while putting protections in place for regional jobs.
More than half of the $6 billion for Regional NSW has been reserved for a range of ambitious road projects. A $3.7 billion investment in our highways – the lifeblood of our regional communities – bridges and country roads, will support local workforces and ensure freight arrives on time.
Of this, $2 billion will go towards a Regional Road Freight Corridor Program for upgrades on inland highways – including a more than $500 million boost for the Newell Highway, which spans the length of our great State.
I had the pleasure of announcing the massive undertaking for the mighty Newell with the Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay, in Parkes this week. Together, we outlined this Government’s plan for our regional highways.
An additional $400 million will go towards country rail, to further meet the growth in freight demand and improve regional passenger services.
One of the most important issues facing our communities is better water security, and we are backing them up with $1 billion for water security projects.
This will include better water supplies for the Upper Hunter, Gwydir, Macquarie and Lachlan river systems, and long-term sustainable water solutions for drought-affected communities in Broken Hill and Cobar.
Another $600 million will go towards rebuilding country classrooms and accelerating regional health projects, while $300 million will set up a regional tourism and environment program.
This planned investment will only proceed if we are elected at the March State election – with the first funds to flow into regional NSW by the end of 2015.
This is the shot in the arm our regional communities have been calling for – they won’t be forgotten as we rebuild this State.