The 2018-19 Budget demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to supporting growth in regional New South Wales. As well as ensuring more equitable access to services, investment in the regions will:
- improve road and rail connections to enable access to markets for regional industries
- provide health and education infrastructure which aligns with population growth
- ensure a water supply in the regions to support industry and population growth
- attract more visitors through the environment and tourism fund.
Investment in regional New South Wales is underpinned by the visions set out in the NSW State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038, Future Transport 2056 and the Department of Planning and Environment’s regional plans. Combined with the Regional Development Framework, the Premier and the State’s priorities and the NSW Intergenerational Report 2016, the Government will take a targeted approach when selecting projects to prepare for the future.
The 2018-19 Budget delivers on these strategies through significant investment in Regional New South Wales on our roads, health and education.
Some of the Government’s new and existing key regional investments are highlighted in this document.
- $13.9 million over four years, including 4.7 million in 2018-19, for Regional Industry Education Partnerships to support stronger connections between schools and industry to meet skills shortages and better facilitate school-to-work transition
- continued funding for the Rural and Remote Early Childhood Teaching Scholarship programs that help early childhood educators in preschools and long day care services upgrade their diploma qualification to a four-year degree
- addition of a fleet of Mobile Training Units and the continuing development of TAFE NSW Connected Learning Centres, to provide more students across regional and rural communities with access to a wider range of courses
- funding for school redevelopments and upgrades including the Armidale Secondary School, Ballina High School, Jindabyne Central School and upgrade of Kingscliff Public School and High School.
- $314.7 million in 2018-19 to improve road safety, including a significant increase in investment through the Road Safety Plan 2021 targeting regional areas where most fatalities occur. This includes 50 additional NSW Police Force highway patrol officers for regional New South Wales and additional regional speeding enforcement.
This budget recognises the impact cultural and social activities can have on quality of life. Funding includes:
- $135.8 million in 2018-19 for the Stronger Country Communities Fund to deliver local community infrastructure in regional New South Wales
- $100.0 million for the Regional Sport Infrastructure Fund to increase the number and quality of regional sporting facilities
- $30.0 million in 2018-19 ($87.9 million over three years) from the Regional Cultural Fund to support development of arts and cultural activities in our regions
- $39.2 million over four years to replace and refurbish Police Citizens Youth Clubs across New South Wales. This includes replacement clubs in Wagga Wagga, Walgett and Dubbo and the upgrade of five regional clubs in Albury, Bourke, Griffith, Kempsey and Moree.
- As part of the $500.0 million Regional Growth Activation Fund – Growing Local Economies funding has been committed for the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange and the Hunter Pilot Biorefinery
- $250.0 million in loans through the Farm Innovation Fund to build drought resilience and invest in on-farm infrastructure
- $71.8 million (over four years) to support the sustainability of the State’s $2.4 billion forestry, sawmilling and wood/paper product manufacturing industries. This includes $34.0 million for a concessional loan scheme to drive innovation, $24.0 million to Forestry Corporation of NSW to invest in new plantations, $9.2 million for forest mapping and monitoring, and $4.6 million for contractor training and accreditation
- $50.0 million allocated towards agricultural productivity and supporting world class food and fibre production through upgrading agricultural research stations across rural and regional NSW
- $24.4 million reserved for the construction of the Doppler Weather Radars in central and western New South Wales. An additional $800,000 has also been committed for the operation of the radars. The radars will ensure regional communities have adequate warning for extreme weather conditions.
- $7.6 million in 2018-19 with $33.1 million over four years on the Aboriginal Social Housing Strategy
- $22.3 million in 2018-19 to support the work of Aboriginal Affairs, including Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility and Empowerment (OCHRE) initiatives
- $2.8 million in 2018-19 to establish Australia’s first of an Aboriginal Languages Trust under the Aboriginal Languages Act 2017, to provide focused, coordinated and sustained effort in relation to Aboriginal languages at local, regional and state levels
- $2.5 million in 2018-19 with $10.0 million over four years for social impact investment in Aboriginal economic development opportunities.
- Additional funding in 2018-19 for our health services across the state including in regional NSW:
- 100 more midwives to support maternity service growth across the state
- five additional Family Care Centre Hubs in rural and regional locations
- investment in drug and alcohol services for prevention and harm-minimisation programs
- a new Rural Health Infrastructure Program, which will provide capacity to undertake upgrades at Tenterfield, Dungog, Scone and Gloucester.
- the $50.0 million Regional Growth Economic Activation Fund – Connecting Country Communities includes $20.0 million has been committed for Mobile Black Spots and $9.0 million for the Regional Digital Connectivity Project in 2018-19
- $15.9 million over three years for the Regional Small Police Station Program to redevelop police stations in regional locations across New South Wales including Adelong, Braidwood, Tea Gardens, South West Rocks, Tullamore, Collarenebri and Bonalbo
- $9.0 million over two years from Local Land Services Future Fund to implement digital delivery services and front of house customer service initiatives
- $7.4 million in 2018-19 to complete the conversion of the motor registry network to Service NSW centres in rural and regional locations across the state.
- Railways, bridges and roads will continue to be upgraded to connect regions with cities, make for faster movement of goods and improve access for visitors. This includes funding in 2018-19 of:
- $199.4 million to enhance road freight productivity in regional New South Wales, including bridge construction as part of the Bridges for the Bush program at Tabulam, Echuca-Moama bridge over the Murray River, and Barrington Bridge near Gloucester. Improvement programs are also counting on the Golden Highway, Gocup Road between Tumut and Gundagai and on the Oxley Highway
- $1.9 billion on regional capacity enhancements in 2018-19 including:
- $1.2 billion to continue the Pacific Highway upgrade program
- $244.3 million for upgrades of the Princes Highway, including commencing the Princes Highway upgrade between Berry and Bomaderry, the bypass of Albion Park Rail, a replacement bridge at Batemans Bay as well as completing planning for the new Shoalhaven River bridge at Nowra
- $168.2 million for Central Coast roads, which includes continuation of the M1 Pacific Motorway widening between the Kariong and Somersby interchanges and between the Tuggerah and Doyalson interchanges, and commencing the Pacific highway widening between Lisarow and Ourimbah
- $138.1 million for projects and programs on roads in regional New South Wales, including safety and realignment works on the Oxley Highway
- $87.0 million on freight rail infrastructure upgrades, including $33.5 million for the Fixing Country Rail program designed to enhance rail infrastructure and eliminate connectivity constraints affecting regional freight services
- $31.3 million to continue procurement of the Regional Rail Fleet Program to replace the aging XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains and create a better, safer, more comfortable and reliable service for customers travelling long distances.
- $1.5 billion for bus services throughout New South Wales, including regional bus services.
- $300.0 million is available for the Environment and Tourism fund, with $142.3 million already committed for specific projects. This includes:
- $17.2 million for the Snowies Iconic Great Walk
- $11.0 million towards Murray River Experience
- $9.9 million for the Thredbo Valley Track Extension
- $8.5 million for the Jenolan project
- $7.9 million for the Light to Light Great Walk
- $6.3 million towards the Scone Aviation Visitor Attraction centre
- $5.0 million towards the Wagga Wagga Riverside Precinct Rejuvenation
- $4.6 million for the Winnie Bay Cliff Top Walk
- $3.6 million for the Murramarang South Coast Walk
- $3.0 million for the Port Stephens Koala Hospital and Tourism Facility
- funding for Destination NSW to support delivery of the Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan, including $54.0 million to promote regional NSW as a tourism and event destination.
- Continued delivery of the $1.0 billion Safe and Secure Water program funding for critical water and sewerage infrastructure projects, underpinning the future growth and sustainability of regional communities.