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THE state's new long-term infrastructure and transport blueprints have earmarked the need to invest in coal communities and speed up trains between Sydney and Newcastle.
But funding has yet to be committed to the projects, with the government to examine in more detail whether the projects are feasible.
Premier Barry O'Farrell and Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian released yesterday the final versions of a long-term transport masterplan and 20-year infrastructure strategy.
It included the government's response to an infrastructure plan drawn up by independent advisers Infrastructure NSW that proposed $2.5 billion be invested in Hunter projects, including that $500 million be spent improving infrastructure in coal communities in the next five years.
The new transport masterplan said Hunter bus services would be enhanced in the short term.
In the medium term, the government would continue building the Newcastle inner city bypass road.
In the long term, it would consider building the F3 link to Raymond Terrace, ''how best to reduce impacts of freight movements on centres such as Muswellbrook and Scone'' and would plan for the Hexham to Fassifern rail bypass of Newcastle.
The infrastructure strategy said the government would identify ways to improve coal community towns and ''implement these measures where feasible'' within the next five years.
Mr O'Farrell said the government and Infrastructure NSW would produce a five-year budget plan that would be released with the next annual state budget, and which would consider such projects.
''This is about ensuring that we have the right infrastructure at the right time in the right place to guide not just the economic growth of NSW but also to provide the services that people expect,'' Mr O'Farrell said.
The strategy gives support to Infrastructure NSW's recommendation to speed up trains between Sydney and Wollongong and Newcastle, but does not commit money to the changes.
Ms Berejiklian said the government was looking to introduce more express services between Sydney and the regions as part of a new CityRail timetable, and would consider any other measures to make intercity services faster.
This article first appeared on www.theherald.com.au
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