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Geoff Lee at the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment site. Geoff Lee at the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment site. Featured
24 June 2017 Posted by 

STATE BUDGET 2017: THE REGION

Building a strong asset position
By Geoff Lee
THE NSW Coalition has delivered another record budget, one that ensures New South Wales is the envy of Australia.
 
The 2017-18 State Budget commits to unprecedented investment in infrastructure – delivering transformational mega projects, boosting services, and providing confidence and optimism for business and the community alike. 
 
The Government has secured the State’s triple-A rating and is delivering record surpluses. We are the only state in the country with negative net debt, solid economic growth and record job creation with the lowest unemployment rate in Australia for two years in a row. 
 
Our surplus in 2016-17 is $4.5B and is forecast at $2.7B in 2017-18. The budget also projects average surpluses of $2B in each year over the next four years. 
 
We are leading the nation with record growth: our Gross State Product [GSP] has grown by 3.5 per cent, through record housing, public and private investment.
 
By 2019 New South Wales will have a net worth that exceeds a quarter of a trillion dollars. 
 
Our fiscal responsibility; keeping expenses under control and investment returns from the lease of the ‘poles and wires’ and service efficiencies underpins our State’s strong budget position. 
 
Business and housing investment is outstripping the rest of Australia by a long stretch. We saw business investment grow by 5 per cent and housing investment by almost 15 per cent while the rest of Australia has experienced flat or negative growth.
 
By 2056, New South Wales will be home to more than 11 million people and this will place more demand on services and infrastructure. 
 
Good economic and financial managers plan and prepare for future growth. With this budget, the State Government is laying the foundations through projects like WestConnex, NorthConnex, Sydney Metro and the light rail networks. 
 
The budget commits a record $41.4B over four years for transport and roads – helping businesses improve productivity and reducing commuting time for employees. 
 
Western Sydney residents will benefit from a $13B investment in more express services for Western Sydney, new trains, buses and ferries and new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and over $1B in road upgrades. 
 
In addition, $3.2B is being invested in WestConnex, $463M to continue the NorthConnex and $2.8B allocated to fast track the Sydney Metro. 
 
More locally the budget commits $142M for the Parramatta light rail, $17.5M for a major upgrade of Harris Park Station, and close to $2M towards upgrades of Rydalmere and Parramatta wharves. There is also another $10M for four additional ferries delivering more services on Parramatta River.
 
The fantastic thing about this budget is its investment in a pipeline of State building projects.  These projects are designed to improve traffic and deliver state of the art transport networks. 
 
This budget also demonstrates the government is investing in things that matter to people and business.
 
We are building tomorrow’s education system, committing unprecedented investment in a massive capital works agenda for our schools. A record $4.2B will be invested in school infrastructure over the next four years. The government has committed to build and upgrade at least 90 schools over the next two years.
 
This will deliver an additional 1,500 classrooms and 32,000 student places across the State. 
 
The budget also secures the funding to complete Parramatta’s exciting flagship projects. The budget allocates $109M for the new vertical schools at Arthur Phillip High School, Parramatta Public School and O’Connell Street School and a major upgrade at Rosehill Public School. 
 
The new schools will cater for increased growth and demand in the area providing for up to two thousand students in the high school and one thousand in each of the two new primary schools.  
 
The Coalition Government is also making record investment in health and hospitals. Described as a hospital building boom with a record $7.7B—an additional $2.8B over four years investment in New South Wales’ hospitals. 
 
Campbelltown, Concord and Nepean Hospitals are among the hospitals receiving record new investment while Westmead Hospital is allocated a further $110M towards their massive redevelopment project including $20.6M for the carpark.
 
The budget will deliver an additional 1,000 new health staff. This increase comes on top of the extra 3,500 nurses, doctors and medical professionals committed and delivered in past budgets.
 
This budget lays the foundation for a prosperous future. The budget delivers an agenda of transformational projects set against a backdrop of a business and housing boom and record low unemployment. Investment in health, education, transport and roads – there can be little doubt this budget cements NSW’s position as the infrastructure capital of Australia and ensures New South Wales remains the envy of the country.  
 
Geoff Lee is State Member for Parramatta.


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