After consecutive years of big spending on major transport infrastructure projects, the Budget this year focuses very strongly on the state’s hospitals and schools with some $5 billion in new spending on upgrades and new facilities.
A total of $72.7 billion in infrastructure projects is in the pipeline for delivery over the coming four years, and some $15 billion is asset recycling proceeds has been banked for medium and longer-term projects beyond the forward estimates.
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Of the $2.3 billion in new hospital projects announced, some $1.2 billion will go to the Greater West. $632 million will be spent on upgraded paediatric, emergency and mental health facilities at Campbelltown Hospital and $576 million (previously announced) will go to the upgrade of Nepean Hospital.
Funding is also provided for planning for future capital works at Rouse Hill and Liverpool Hospitals, and a State-wide Mental Health capital works program. A $100 million package of new funding for palliative care includes $6.9 million for community-based palliative care in the Western Sydney Local Health District.
The $4.2 billion four-year capital program to be spent in NSW public school over the forward estimates includes $2.2 billion in new spending on priority projects over the next two years aimed at delivering more than 1,500 new classrooms and more than 32,000 additional student places.
Of these school upgrades and new school projects, 59 will be in Western Sydney, including new schools in Schofields, Leppington, Oran Park, Narellan, Gledswood Hills, Bella Vista, North Kellyville, Liverpool, Parramatta, Jordan Springs, Penrith, Olympic Park and Wilton Junction.
$49 million is being provided to deliver programs and initiatives in partnership with Aboriginal communities, including the establishment of the Aboriginal Centre for Excellence in Western Sydney.
Spending in transport continues at record levels with $41.4 billion invested in capital projects over the forward estimates.Western Sydney will see continued investment in major projects, many of which are already underway:
- $3.2 billion for continued delivery of WestConnex.
- $2.8 billion for the Sydney Metro project, including the Metro North West, South West and second harbour rail crossing.
- $648 million towards the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan, including roads to support the construction of Western Sydney Airport and surrounding employment lands, such as Bringelly Road and the Northern Road.
- $1.4 billion in rail maintenance and $658 million in network enhancements and improvements, including extra express services for Western Sydney.
- $25 million for planning and early work for Parramatta Light Rail, with funding already set aside under Restart NSW and Rebuilding NSW for eventual delivery of this project.
- $ 40 million to plan the M9 Outer Orbital and the M12 freeway linking the M7 to Western Sydney Airport.
- $10 million towards new Parramatta to Sydney CBD ferries.
Notably, funding for construction of Parramatta Light Rail is set aside but not committed, while the business case for that project remains under development. The announced Metro West, linking Parramatta, Olympic Park and the CBD was also a notable omission from the Budget, with planning funds widely expected to be included. WSLD expects this transformative project to progress over the coming months and will be advocating for it to be expedited for delivery within the next 10 years.
In addition to the $160 million provided to progress work on the Western Sydney Stadium at Parramatta, $30 million has been allocated for the new Parramatta Pool.
A key feature of this year’s Budget is a new $100 “Active Kids Rebate for parents to spend on junior sport fees, with $207 million allocated for this initiative over four years.
The tourism budget includes $193 million to attract visitors and support the local tourism industry across NSW. Funding boosts are provided for both Destination NSW ($18 million in new funding) and the Western Sydney Parklands Trust ($12 million funding boost). No further commitments were made on the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, which will be a key plank of WSLD advocacy over the coming year.