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Strong economies with opportunities for all

The NSW Government is committed to growing stronger regional economies and communities by investing in vital job-creating projects delivering locally based infrastructure and key services.

Prosperous regions mean a strong state as a whole. The NSW Government is continuing its record investment to drive job creation and retention and ensure that all engine industries continue to be strong.

The 2022-23 NSW Budget will unlock new opportunities in emerging sectors and future industries so regional economies strengthen and grow over the coming years. Key investments to support engine industries and unlock new opportunities include:

  • $296.5 million for the Multipurpose Services Strategy Stage 5, with 19 centres delivered so far and two under way in 2022-23.

  • $145.7 million to deliver the Mission-Critical Emergency Services Messaging Program for a centralised emergency services paging network.

  • $145.0 million to establish the Regional Investment Activation Program to make regional New South Wales the location of choice for investors, facilitating new private sector investment to activate the potential of priority precincts and industries.

  • $130.0 million to grow investment in mining and exploration by implementing the NSW Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy, providing enabling infrastructure and developing skills in critical minerals mining and processing.

  • $28.0 million to support landowners to implement new Private Native Forestry Codes of Practice to encourage forest stewardship, diversify on-farm incomes and improve productivity and environmental outcomes for farm forestry.

  • $9.0 million for a Regional Concierge Service to attract key workers to the regions, focusing on factors outside work that influence a persons decision to live and work in regional areas.

  • $3.6 million to continue supporting young pre-elite athletes in the lead up to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games.

  • $1.2 million to support local businesses to expand and supply the defence and aerospace industry through the Regional Defence Networks Program.

Resilience and recovery

The NSW Government continues to provide vital assistance to our rural and regional communities that have faced challenges, with many programs under way to repair, rebuild and recover, in partnership with the Commonwealth Government.

Floods

The severe storms and flooding in February and March 2022 have had a devastating impact on communities across New South Wales, particularly in the Northern Rivers region.

In response, the NSW and Commonwealth governments have jointly committed $3.5 billion to support impacted communities and established the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation to set and implement reconstruction priorities in the region.

Other measures are designed to provide immediate support and assist people and businesses with returning to their lives as quickly and as safely as possible, including:

  • $312.5 million to deliver State and local government transport infrastructure resilience improvements and upgrades in the Northern Rivers.

  • $145.0 million to replace water and sewerage critical infrastructure.

  • $142.0 million for the Property Assessment and Demolition Program to assess properties and demolish those found to be uninhabitable.

  • $67.0 million for the North Coast Flood Recovery Education Support Package to support the recovery of schools, early childhood education services and training providers.

  • $36.0 million for levee repair works across northern NSW.

  • Direct support grants for local councils, individuals and families, primary producers, small businesses, and not-for-profit organisations.

The NSW Government is also investing an additional $132.7 million to enable the NSW State Emergency Service to better respond to, understand, plan and prepare for flood and storm events. This includes:

  • $58.7 million to upgrade critical priority unit facilities across New South Wales.

  • $43.0 million to establish two additional zones in northern and western New South Wales with sufficient staffing to support local volunteers.

  • $18.0 million to update the capability of the existing five NSW SES Zone Headquarters to Level 3 Incident Control Centre capability.

  • $11.7 million to establish Zone Headquarters with Level 3 Incident Control Centre capability for the two new Zones.

  • $1.3 million to develop an NSW SES Facility Strategy for modern Incident Control Centres.

Bushfires

The NSW Government continues to provide $4.5 billion, in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, to assist the continued community recovery from the Black Summer bushfires.

The Government has accepted all 76 recommendations of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry and, in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, committed a further $315.2 million to:

  • $147.9 million for extending hazard reduction activities.

  • $129.7 million for firefighting tanker replacements and safety upgrades.

  • $27.7 million over four years to upgrade and operate national parks radio infrastructure enabling firefighters to gain critical access to the NSW Public Safety Network.

  • $10.0 million to continue the delivery of critical strategic fire trails.

For national parks, this takes the total Budget investment to $173.8 million, which will establish an additional 200 permanent firefighter roles and 50 bushfire conservation roles.

Image of three female volunteer firefighters talking together behind a firetruck in Whittingham in the Hunter region
Whittingham

 

Investing in transformational infrastructure

The NSW Government has invested significantly in regional infrastructure over the past decade. To ensure regional New South Wales continues to build excellent facilities for its growing population and provide all the services that strong communities need, this Budget will invest in new and improved infrastructure right across the regions.

Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund

The NSW Governments $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund (the Fund) is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in transformative infrastructure across regional New South Wales.

The Fund is delivering critical infrastructure and initiatives to foster regional economic development across priority areas identified in long-term government plans. Key projects include:

  • $100.0 million for the Gig State project to upgrade digital network infrastructure to deliver metro-level internet services to regional businesses and residents.

  • $50.0 million for Mobile Coverage Stage 1, investing in infrastructure and emerging technologies to deliver improved mobile coverage across regional New South Wales.

  • $47.9 million for the Farms of the Future program, supporting farmers to adopt agtech devices and apps.

Special Activation Precincts

The NSW Government is continuing its investment in Special Activation Precincts (SAPs), which represent new ways of planning and delivering industrial and commercial infrastructure to support the ongoing prosperity of regional New South Wales.

The Government has committed around $1.0 billion of capital expenditure framed at enabling more local jobs and driving economic outcomes, including:

  • $391.3 million for the Snowy Mountains SAP, including the new Southern Connector Road in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, expanding the visitor economy to a year-round destination to increase investment and jobs in the area.

  • $219.0 million for the Parkes SAP, which covers around 4,800 ha at the only junction of Australias two rail spines, the Inland Rail and Trans-Australia Railway.

  • $193.9 million for the Moree SAP, providing a new business hub specialising in agribusiness, logistics and food processing.

  • $150.6 million for the 4,500 ha Wagga SAP to capitalise on the Inland Rail project, supporting manufacturing, agribusiness and freight and logistics.

  • $25.0 million for Special Activation pre-delivery works for the Williamtown SAP.

Education

The NSW Government continues to deliver high-quality education and modern school infrastructure that meets the needs of the States growing population while preparing young people for the future economy. This Budget includes:

  • $583.6 million in 2022-23 towards building and upgrading schools across regional and rural areas, equating to 32 per cent of the major works spend on schools in 2022-23.

  • $89.8 million in 2022-23 for new and ongoing capital works programs at regional TAFE campuses to improve facilities, upgrade teaching equipment and create modern learning spaces.

  • $10.6 million for the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group to develop a Regional Operations Model. This includes $460,000 in 2022-23 to continue implementation and maintenance of the community component of the Language and Culture Nests initiative in regional locations.

Transport

The NSW Government is continuing to invest in projects that connect communities to one another, improve productivity, and increase connections to national and international markets through the movement of goods and people. This Budget includes:

  • $835.6 million over three years to continue delivery of a modern, new Regional Rail Fleet to replace the ageing XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains, and construct a purpose-built maintenance facility in Dubbo.

  • $335.0 million over four years as part of a NSW and Commonwealth Government funded proposal to grade separate several road and rail interfaces in New South Wales as a result of the Inland Rail project.

  • $274.5 million over four years to continue detailed planning and commence early works of the Fast Rail Network including initial stages on the northern corridor between Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle in collaboration with the Commonwealth Government.

  • $201.2 million for a range of regional transport programs and projects including the Fixing Country Bridges program, continued planning and delivery of the 16 Cities program, and supporting regional councils through the Fixing Local Roads program.

  • $193.0 million over two years to support the upgrades of priority regional roads transferred to the State, as part of the NSW Governments Regional Road Transfer and Road Classification Review.

  • $60.2 million over two years for the Fixing Country Rail program, to continue to deliver improved capacity and reliability of the regional rail network and deliver a highly functional network for moving freight in and out of regional areas.

  • $12.0 million to continue the Transport Connected Bus Program, delivering vehicle tracking and automatic passenger-counting technology across contracted buses in regional New South Wales.

  • $8.7 million to commence the Heavy Vehicle Rest Stops Improvement program, which will allow for the progressive delivery of rest-stop improvements on state roads throughout regional New South Wales.

Energy

The NSW Government is transforming the States energy infrastructure that will generate economic and employment benefits for regional industries, workers and consumers.

Additional investments over the next four years that will significantly boost regional areas include:

  • $1.9 billion to roll out transmission infrastructure for Renewable Energy Zones in five New South Wales regions (which is intended to be fully recouped, with a maximum impact on net debt of $1.2 billion after taking account of recycling proceeds).

  • $110.0 million to build low-carbon industry by providing grants for new business activities to competitively produce low-emissions materials.

  • $105.0 million investment in the Renewable Manufacturing Fund to ensure New South Wales captures the jobs and investment benefits of the renewable energy transition.

  • An additional $50.4 million to accelerate the Renewable Energy Zone development in light of earlier-than-expected thermal power plant closures.

  • $45.9 million to expand the Pumped Hydro grants program to add a further 1.4 GW of storage capacity to the grid.

Image of Sunlit Tumut three power station, part of the Snowy Hydroelectric Scheme in Talbingo in the South East and Tablelands region
Talbingo

 

Primary industries

The primary industries sector is the backbone of many of the State’s regional areas. This Budget invests:

  • $182.0 million to deliver the 10-year NSW Government Marine Estate Management Strategy to improve water quality, estuary health and other biodiversity and environmental metrics.

  • $163.9 million in 2022-23 to bolster the State’s response and readiness capability to future biosecurity incursions, including enhanced response targeting endemic species.

  • $58.0 million to undertake repair work on state forestry roads and related infrastructure as part of the Forestry Land Stabilisation and Repair Program.

  • $17.1 million to continue the Farm Business Resilience Program and Rural Financial Counselling Service, which provides farmers with the skills and knowledge they need to build resilience to future droughts and natural disasters.

Protecting and enjoying our natural environment

Investing in protecting and enhancing the State’s natural capital ensures the environment is sustained to secure a shared future for the wildlife and people of New South Wales. New investments include:

  • $222.1 million over four years for the National Parks and Wildlife Service across the State, to support the following investments benefiting regional communities:

    • the new Arc Rainforest Centre and Dorrigo Escarpment Great Walk to showcase the ancient World Heritage rainforests of the Dorrigo escarpment

    • the establishment of a Reserve and Activation Fund to fill critical gaps in the national parks estate and to enhance regional tourism and economic benefits

  • $206.2 million over 10 years to enhance the State's natural capital by rewarding farmers who opt-in to a Sustainable Farming accreditation program.

  • $106.7 million to establish a new Biodiversity Credits Supply Fund, to purchase and make available biodiversity credits for re-sale to public and private proponents, enabling sustainable development and rewarding landholders who use their land for conservation.

  • $32.9 million to boost the State’s early detection and response to biosecurity threats on Lord Howe Island and protect the Island’s World Heritage ecological values.

  • $24.2 million for essential environmental monitoring for air quality forecasting and alerts, and to expand water quality monitoring to more swim sites across New South Wales.

Significant existing environmental programs that maintain the Government’s focus on natural capital involve:

  • $145.9 million to continue to deliver the NSW Koala Strategy, targeted at conservation actions with the long-term goal of doubling koala numbers in New South Wales by 2050.

  • $60.0 million to continue the Saving our Species program, the State’s flagship threatened species conservation program, maximising the number of threatened species and ecological communities that are secure in the wild.

  • Continued delivery of the $49.4 million Gardens of Stone Walk near Lithgow to showcase the State’s diverse natural and cultural heritage assets.

Securing sustainable and healthy water

To ensure water supplies are secured for the future while supporting sustainable and healthy water environments, the NSW Government is investing:

  • Over $410.0 million from the Commonwealth Government to accelerate the delivery of the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism and deliver the Northern Basin Toolkit in the Murray-Darling Basin.

  • $369.6 million for initiatives through the Safe and Secure Water Program including $90.0 million in new funding to address the water supply, quality and safety risks for regional towns.

  • $131.5 million over three years from the Commonwealth Government to deliver water efficiency measures, including $124.0 million for Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited to improve water delivery infrastructure.

  • $21.5 million in additional funding over eight years to maintain the Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme to help minimise flood risk.

  • $19.8 million to plan for the State’s water future through the NSW Water Strategy including an integrated set of initiatives that deliver the first Aboriginal Water Strategy for New South Wales.

Image of wildflowers on banks of Murrumbidgee river in Balranald in the Riverina Murray region
Balranald