Regional New South Wales covers a vast area, with nearly 2.5 million people living outside of the main population areas of Greater Sydney, Newcastle and the Illawarra. Regional NSW’s agriculture, mining and marine industries are key drivers of the State’s prosperity.
A key initiative of this budget is the planned implementation of the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund to facilitate reinvestment of the proceeds from the Snowy Hydro Limited share sale. The intention of this program is to invest these gains in state-building infrastructure across regions in New South Wales. In this budget, $40.0 million in 2018-19 has been allocated for project development.
The 2018-19 Budget aims to promote Regional NSW as an attractive place to live, work, do business and visit. Here’s how:
- $1.9 billion in 2018-19 investment in regional capacity enhancements with upgrades to the Pacific and Princes Highways, a replacement bridge at Batemans Bay and upgrades to the Central Coast and Hunter Roads
- $250.0 million in loans for the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF). The FIF provides loans of up to $250,000 for investments in farm infrastructure to boost drought preparedness and will now be accessible until 2022. The FIF also offers $50,000 seven-year interest free loans to allow farmers to transport fodder, move live-stock and preserve stock bloodlines
- $155 million reserved in Restart NSW for the new Shoalhaven River Bridge at Nowra.
- $685.0 million over four years for the Regional Road Freight Corridor program as part of Restart NSW
- $24.4 million has been reserved within Restart NSW for Doppler Weather Radars in central and western New South Wales, an additional $800,000 has also been committed for the operation of the Radars
- repairing Country Rail (Restart NSW) funding of $148.3 million over four years, including:
- $40.0 million for the Berry to Bomaderry Rail Line and the OMEGA Tunnels Track Upgrade
- $7.7 million for the Tarago Passing Loop Extension.
- allocating up to $50.0 million to upgrade agriculture research stations across rural and regional New South Wales
- $26.7 million in 2018-19 for the Sealing Country Roads Program to complete the sealing of the Silver City and Cobb Highway in Western New South Wales
- investing in the forestry sector with $34.0 million over four years as a concessionary loan facility as part of the Forestry Innovation Fund to support innovation and productivity growth in the sector. The package also includes:
- an additional $4.6 million over four years towards forestry contractor training and accreditation program
- $9.2 million over four years for world-class forest mapping and monitoring
- an equity injection of $24.0 million to Forestry Corporation to support plantation investment.
- $26.8 million over four years from 2018-19 in the Resources for Regions programs including:
- $7.8 million for the Upper Hunter Regional Mine Affected Roads program
- $4.6 million for stage four of the South Orange Economic Development Corridor (Anson Street to Pinnacle Road)
- $4.3 million for the Newcastle Beach Community Infrastructure Project.