Record infrastructure spending to stimulate the state’s post-pandemic economy | Newcastle Herald

news, local-news

The new Maitland hospital is the Hunter’s big winner from this year’s state budget with $220million to be spent on the project over the next financial year. In addition to the hospital, about $18million has been allocated for the construction a $30million carpark that forms part of the $470million project. Maitland Hospital is among a raft of infrastructure projects across the state that have been turbocharged to boost the state’s post-pandemic economy. More from the budget: NSW government allocates more than $60m for Hunter road projects in 2020-21 budget “With so many people out of work this year and more predicted to become unemployed, we’re in a race against time to help create as many new jobs as we can,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. “This budget has workers at its heart, with temporary, targeted stimulus to generate jobs and get businesses booming again.” The Restart NSW program will do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to stimulating regional NSW economies. The budget papers show the Port of Newcastle will contribute $1.5billion to the $35billion program, which has allocated $16.3million to the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund. The fund is designed to promote economic growth and enhance liveability in the Hunter. The Hunter’s other major health infrastructure project, the $780million health and innovation precinct at John Hunter Hospital received $16million for early planning works. A further $2.6million has been allocated for the completion of stages two and three of the John Hunter Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care unit. Despite sustained lobbying from the tourism and business community, only $21.7million has been allocated to continue planning on the M1 extension from Black Hill to Raymond Terrace. As the Newcastle Herald reported on Tuesday, $20 million has been allocated for early works on the Newcastle Inner City Bypass between Rankin Park and Jesmond. The funding complements the $360million allocated to the project in the recent federal budget. Planning for the much-anticipated Muswellbrook and Singleton bypasses will also continue thanks to a $8.5million budget allocation. The funding follows a $530million federal government allocation for the Singleton project in September. Six million will be spent on further improvements to Nelson Bay Road. “We’re delivering more for the regions than ever before, and we’re doing it as fast as we can,” Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said. “We are building a better NSW by turbocharging funding for the small projects communities need now and accelerating the big infrastructure that will support future growth. The region’s other major transport infrastructure project, the Hunter freight bypass between Hexham and Fassifern received no extra funding. The $13million previously announced for planning and preservation has once again been rolled over. Moving closer to the inner city, the budget papers also reveal the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has committed to a $32million 10 year lease at the new office tower at the intersection of Stewart Avenue and Hunter Street. Newcastle police station will receive a $6.5million upgrade as part of a raft of police station upgrades across the state. Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the Budget also provides $41 million in 2020-21 to deliver the government’s $583 million commitment to recruit 1500 extra police over four years – the single biggest increase for the Force in more than 30 years – to enhance community safety across NSW. “The safety and security of NSW continues to be this Government’s highest priority. This year’s Budget delivers 250 additional police to turbocharge the State’s crime fighting capability and protect our most vulnerable,” Mr Elliott said. “The professionalism of our men and women in blue has been on display for all to see over the past year, stepping up to take on additional responsibilities during the State’s response to COVID-19 and the Black Summer bushfires.” The Newcastle Education precinct, which the government has remained steadfastly silent on in recent years, appears in the infrastructure statement under the heading of ‘advanced planning and assurance review’. Hunter River High School and Irrawang High School were also listed under advanced planning. Several of the region’s schools have received funding for new and continuing upgrades. They include Newcastle East Public School, which will receive a further $766,000 for ongoing upgrade works. More than $8.2 million has been spent on the project to date. The government is also investing in water security projects across the Hunter. Hunter Water, a state-owned corporation, will receive $26million for new infrastructure works and $130.5million for ongoing works. MidCoast council will receive $10.4million, as part of a $13million project, to help safeguard against drought. Almost $5million will be spent on water security for economic development in the Upper Hunter. As part of a boost to social housing across the state, $5.8million has been allocated as part of a $7.2million project to deliver new and upgraded social and affordable housing projects for Aboriginal communities in Wallsend, Taree, Woodberry, Toronto and Forster. Other small projects to benefit from the budget include the $6.6 million Cessnock Airport upgrade, which received $3million. The $7.5million project to extend Fernleigh Track received $4million.