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A MASSIVE $20 billion has been pledged to kill off NSW’s crippling traffic congestion in the state Budget, announced today.
No matter how you look at it, the state’s spending on infrastructure is huge.
Overall it expects to spend $73.3 billion over four years to 2019-20.
In just one year (2016-17), the government will spend $44.6 billion, of this $20.2 billion will be spent on transport and roads infrastructure and services.
This includes $2.9 billion for Sydney’s WestConnex, $338 million for road upgrades to support the new Badgerys Creek airport, more than $271 million for three light rail projects in Sydney, Newcastle and Parramatta, as well as $2.1 billion to continue fast-tracking major upgrades of key regional highways.
NSW hopes to benefit from the transition away from the mining boom, with economic and financial capacity now available to be redirected to infrastructure projects across NSW.
Key projects include:
● Sydney Metro rail project: $6.2 billion over four years to progress the 30km metro line from Chatswood to the CBD and Bankstown. There will also be $5.8 billion for the northwest line
● Other rail projects: $64 million in 2016-17 to continue planning for the Parramatta Light Rail system. More than $1 billion over four years for the suburban rail network and $518.4 million for the new trains
● Prison beds: $3.8 billion over four years to provide more beds in jails to keep up with growing demand
●School upgrades: $2.6 billion over four years for new schools and upgrades at existing schools
● Walsh Bay Arts Precinct: $129 million over four years for construction of new and upgraded production, studio, rehearsal and performance venues
● Fixing Country Roads program: $50 million to fund road and bridge upgrades in rural and regional areas
● Sports stadium: Money for a new stadium for western Sydney, and upgrading existing facilities at Olympic Park and Moore Park
● Regional hospitals: $133 million in 2016-17 for Gosford Hospital redevelopment, upgrading facilities and construction of new car park. There will be new major works at Tweed, Port Macquarie and Singleton hospitals, and further stages of redevelopment at Dubbo Hospital.
NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian unveils her second State Budget. Picture: Chris PavlichSource:News Corp Australia
NATION’S ENGINE ROOM
If jobs and growth is what you’re after, NSW is the place to be, but its very success will cost it in revenue.
The powerhouse state has emerged as the nation’s first half-a-trillion-dollar economy, putting it almost on par with countries like Norway, Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said while unveiling her second State Budget today.
“If NSW was a stand-alone country, it would be in the top 20 per cent by size of economy,” Ms Berejiklian said in her budget speech. The Baird Government’s record infrastructure spend is set to boost its net worth by 30 per cent to $250 billion over the coming four years.
With the nation’s lowest unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent, NSW has gained 141,800 jobs in the past year — that’s 63 per cent of new jobs across the nation, in a state that accounts for 31 per cent of Australia’s population. It’s an increase in employment of 3.9 per cent.
The strength of the NSW economy is drawing people to the state, and less citizens are leaving. Net outward migration to other states is near its lowest levels since the late 1970s.
As the only state in positive territory with business investment growth, it is set to grow its gross state product by 3 per cent in 2016-17 and 2.75 per cent the following year, against the backdrop of a relatively subdued national outlook. Victoria, the only other state that has a triple-A credit rating, lags behind NSW on these measures.
But the state’s pole position means it faces a loss of GST revenue that could put pressure on services, as the government maintains its commitment to restrained spending.
The Treasurer revealed a surplus of $3.7 billion would be achieved in 2016-17, and this would continue over the next four years with forecast annual surpluses averaging $2 billion. The state’s debt is already sitting at virtually zero, and it has managed to maintain its triple-A credit rating.
But GST revenue is set to fall dramatically, and the government is working on the assumption that the state’s housing boom is coming to an end.
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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