Bud­get boost for the bush

Bil­lion dol­lar in­fra­struc­ture cash splash to lift North­ern NSW

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Sam Mck­eith

THE state’s north will share in more than $1 bil­lion worth of in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing un­veiled in the NSW bud­get in an ef­fort to boost growth and jobs in the re­gions.

Trea­surer Do­minic Per­rot­tet yes­ter­day an­nounced a fore­cast bud­get sur­plus of $2.7 bil­lion in the Bere­jik­lian govern­ment’s 2017-18 bud­get and av­er­age sur­pluses of $2 bil­lion in com­ing years.

Mr Per­rot­tet also con­firmed a huge $4.5 bil­lion bud­get sur­plus for the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year, a re­sult strongly linked to sell­ing the state’s elec­tric­ity poles and wires.

For re­gional NSW, the cen­tre­piece was a new $1 bil­lion Re­gional Growth: Eco­nomic Ac­ti­va­tion Fund aimed at grow­ing the eco­nomic po­ten­tial of ur­ban cen­tres outside Syd­ney.

The new fund, to be bankrolled from ex­ist­ing in­vest­ment fund Restart NSW, in­cludes $200 mil­lion over three years for com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties and $100 mil­lion over four years to up­grade cul­tural as­sets such as gal­leries and theatres.

Mr Per­rot­tet said the fund would un­lock eco­nomic growth, re­vi­talise town cen­tres and im­prove tourism ameni­ties for vis­i­tors.

“All of this will de­liver more jobs, more op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses to grow, and cre­ate ever more vi­brant re­gional com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

In the state’s north, the in­fra­struc­ture splurge means more spend­ing on roads, in­clud­ing a share of the $1.2 bil­lion for the Pa­cific Hwy up­grade be­tween Wool­go­olga and Bal­lina, and $266 mil­lion for up­grades be­tween the Ox­ley Hwy and Kund­abung and be­tween War­rell Creek and Nam­bucca Heads.

There was $94.5 mil­lion pledged for an ex­tra 400 prison beds at the jail in Kempsey and $84 mil­lion to con­tinue build­ing the $240 mil­lion bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton.

Other fund­ing pledges in­clude $3 mil­lion for shark man­age­ment on the North Coast, $1.5 mil­lion for a new fire sta­tion at South West Rocks and $1.3 mil­lion to re­de­velop the Tweed Heads Po­lice Sta­tion.

Pre­mier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian said the bud­get would turbo-charge re­gional com­mu­ni­ties “like never be­fore”.

“They are mak­ing a pow­er­ful con­tri­bu­tion to our over­all eco­nomic growth, with over 40% of jobs com­ing from the re­gions in the past two years,” she said.

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