Billion dollar infrastructure boost for northern NSW
Northern NSW will share in more than $1 billion worth of infrastructure spending unveiled in the NSW budget as part of the Berejiklian government's effort to boost growth and jobs in the state's regions.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday handed down the government's 2017-18 budget, announcing a forecast budget surplus of $2.7 billion and average surpluses of $2 billion over the forward estimates.
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 regional fund, to be bankrolled from the government's existing investment fund Restart NSW, includes $200 million over three years for community facilities and $100 million over four years to upgrade cultural assets like galleries and theatres, the government said.
Mr Perrottet said the fund would unlock economic growth, revitalise town centres and improve tourism access and 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 for works between Woolgoolga to Ballina, and $266 million for upgrades between the Oxley Hwy and Kundabung and between Warrell Creek and Nambucca Heads.
Local hospitals are also set to gain, with $23 million pledged to build a new hospital at Macksville, $10 million to expand at Port Macquarie Hospital and $5 million to start the expansion of Coffs Harbour Hospital.
There is also $94.5 million pledged for an extra 400 prison beds at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre in Kempsey.
The continued construction of the new $240 million bridge across the Clarence River at Grafton also gets an $84 million budget commitment.
Other funding pledges include $3 million for shark management on the North Coast and $1.5 million for a new fire station at South West Rocks.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the budget demonstrated a strong commitment to regional communities across the state.
"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," Ms Berejiklian said.
"In this budget we are turbocharging the regions like never before."
Govt pledges $2 billion for regional water security
The budget has pledged almost $2 billion to help farmers and primary producers across the state help secure critical water resources.
Announcing the budget pledge on Tuesday, NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said funding would help safeguard water supplies in rural communities.
He said the money would also be used to protect against pests and disease, ensure the sustainable use of natural resources and manage biodiversity.
The commitment meant an extra $965 million for the sector in 2017-18, he said.
"The primary industries sector is critical to people's livelihoods and prosperity and this budget further reinforces our commitment to regional NSW and its continued growth," Mr Blair added.
Northern NSW to get hospital upgrades
The government has made regional health a budget priority, announcing new hospitals at Tweed and Macksville and hospital upgrades at Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Inverell.
The centrepiece of the announcement, unveiled in Tuesday's budget, was confirmation of the $534 million redevelopment of the Tweed Hospital.
The Berejikilian government also pledged $156 million for the Coffs Harbour Hospital expansion, $52.5 million to redevelop Lismore Hospital and $40 million to redevelop Inverell Hospital.
Lismore MP Thomas George said the funding was a win for the region.
"This budget really delivers for our local community - Lismore Hospital Redevelopment has been secured as part of this budget, meaning world class health infrastructure for our families," Mr George said.
Budget win for Tweed with new police station
Law and order in the Tweed will get a budget boost, with the government promising to spend $1.3 million on a new police station for the area.
The 2017-18 funding promise would result in a complete redevelopment of the Tweed Heads Police Station, the government revealed on Tuesday.
The overhaul is part of a $41 million spend on building and refurbishing police stations across the state, announced in Tuesday's budget.
NSW police will also get more money to invest in the latest police technology, like hand held narcotics analysers and mobile fingerprint scanners, as well as extra funding to boost the capacity of aerial police.
"Since 2011, the government has invested heavily in supporting police, and providing them with the tools and equipment required to combat crime, and as a result, we have seen crime rates continue to drop," Police Minister Troy Grant said.