The NSW Government’s newly released 2019-20 budget includes significant investment in open and green spaces, regional and metro road and rail infrastructure, and $6.4 billion over four years for the Sydney Metro West.

Metro road and rail investment

$55.6 billion will be allocated across the next four years to invest in transport infrastructure, easing congestion and keeping the community moving.

This includes:

  • $32.2 billion for public transport projects
  • $23.4 billion for road projects
  • $300 million to improve accessibility for rail customers, part of an $885 million spend on the Transport Access Program over four years
  • $812 million towards new trains
  • $6.4 billion over four years for Metro West
  • $480 million to upgrade sections of Mamre and Mulgoa roads
  • $561 million for Parramatta Light Rail project
  • $450 million to ease congestion key traffic bottlenecks

NSW Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance, said this investment will deliver on the massive commitments made to improve transport connections and services.

“The Government has invested billions of dollars in road and rail projects across Sydney which has improved journeys throughout Greater Sydney.”

Minister Constance also said transport projects in development and delivery are game-changers for Sydney.

In addition to this infrastructure investment, the recurrent transport budget of $14.4 billion will fund operation of transport services and commitments such as the Regional Seniors Transport Card.

Regional road and rail investment

Regional NSW will benefit from safer and more efficient road, rail and freight networks.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, said the NSW Government was ensuring the regions continued to see the infrastructure projects they need and want delivered.

“This Budget builds upon years of regional investment, with even more happening in the bush than ever before.”

The regional road and rail investment includes:

  • $1.5 billion over four years for the Pacific Highway upgrade program towards completion of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade which is on track to progressively open to traffic in 2020, and to progress the Coffs Harbour bypass
  • $1.2 billion over four years to continue work on existing Princes Highway projects, including the Albion Park Rail bypass, the Berry to Bomaderry Upgrade, the new Nowra Bridge, the Batemans Bay replacement bridge
  • $322 million over four years, as part of the Government’s commitment to upgrade the Princes Highway between Nowra and the Victorian border.
  • $44.3 million to continue sealing the most remote highways in NSW, the Silver City and Cobb Highways
  • $145 million for upgrades on the Newell Highway, including overtaking lanes, pavement upgrades
  • $38 million to progress the new Regional Rail Fleet including construction of a rail maintenance facility in Dubbo
  • $373 million to improve road safety including a significant increase in investment through the Road Safety Plan 2021 targeting high risk areas with a regional focus.
  • Start of the $250 Seniors Travel Card in January 2020

“I am excited for those who live in regional and rural NSW as we unlock our capacity by investing in infrastructure that responds to the needs of today and prepares for future growth,” Mr Toole said.

Green spaces

Planning and Public Spaces Minister, Rob Stokes, said $162 million will be used to upgrade existing government-owned land and buy new land for public parklands, increase the tree canopy across Sydney and build more inclusive playgrounds.

“We’re committed to creating outdoor living rooms right across Sydney so more people can get outdoors and enjoy easy access to fantastic public spaces wherever they live.”

“This budget shows that the NSW Government is planning for open space more strategically – through improvements to land we already own and by buying up forgotten land across Sydney to create new parks, playgrounds, green links and cycleways between existing open spaces.”

The Budget devotes $19 million to improve existing Government-owned land, including:

  • $9 million to improve open space in Frenchs Forest with new green connections, linking the local community to nearby bushland corridors;
  • $6 million to upgrade Kempt Field in Hurstville with upgraded facilities, a new running track or new playground; and
  • $4 million to improve open space at Withers road in Beaumount Hills that could include new playgrounds, nature trails and shared pathways between Smalls Creek and Caddies Creek.
  • Another $31 million will be used to upgrade open space in Appin, Ermington, Fairfield, Leppington and Penrith
  • $75 million to buy new land across the State to be converted for public use.

Funding has also been set aside to continue building inclusive playgrounds across NSW through the Government’s Everyone Can Play initiative.

Mr Stokes said four new inclusive playgrounds have opened recently in Hornsby, Willoughby, Lane Cove and Wagga Wagga, with 30 more set to be delivered in conjunction with local councils.

“We’re also committed to planting more trees to boost Sydney’s urban tree canopy, with more than $36 million allocated to create greener and cooler environments,” Mr Stokes said.

The funding will help build on the 149,000 trees already planted by the community through the ‘Five Million Trees for Greater Sydney’ program.

Industry welcomes investment

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia warmly welcomed the investment, stating that the NSW Government has cemented its lead as the largest funder of infrastructure in the country.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive, Adrian Dwyer, said, “The NSW Government has a winning formula for infrastructure funding, and it continues to pay dividends to the people of NSW.

“The 2019-20 Budget dedicates 18.4 per cent of total general government expenditure to infrastructure funding – a huge premium on the 12.78 per cent average for the preceding decade.

“As several major projects reach completion, such as North West Metro and Western Sydney Stadium, the Budget confirms the pipeline remains strong.

“NSW’s pack leading infrastructure program is no coincidence – it’s the product of smart fiscal management, sensible asset recycling, and solid project selection.”

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