Infrastructure investment continues in New South Wales 2023-24 budget

New South Wales

budget, infrastructure, new south wales, NSW,

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New South Wales Government has delivered $72.3b on infrastructure spending in its 2023/24 budget, amid the state’s fiscal pressure and economic uncertainty.

The Minns Labor Government’s 2023-24 Budget will invest $72.3 billion over the next 4 years to improve road, train, metro, bus, ferry, light rail, and active transport options, and play a vital role in helping the NSW Government unlock more housing.

The 2023/24 $72.3B NSW Infrastructure Budget includes: 

  • Investing an additional $1 billion in Sydney Metro City and Southwest to get the project back on track after delays and cost blowouts left the project unable to be completed.
  • $7.9 billion over 4 years to deliver the Sydney Metro to Western Sydney Airport, with 6 new stations to service the future Western Sydney International Airport.
  • $302.7 million reserved for a Western Sydney rapid bus network to connect the communities of Penrith, Liverpool, Campbelltown to the future Western Sydney International Airport.
  • $300 million to upgrade train station car parks and make stations more accessible through the installation of new lifts, ramps and footbridges.
  • $200 million reserved to expedite the planning for the procurement, construction and delivery of Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 for Western Sydney.
  • $71.1 million to return Freshwater Class ferries to the Circular Quay-Manly route.
  • $43 million for seven new Australian-made Parramatta River Class ferries.
  • $15.8 million for Transport for NSW to invest in the Public Transport Information and Priority System to improve real time bus tracking for passengers. This investment will help end “ghost buses” and improve the reliability and confidence of passengers and was a key recommendation of the Bus Industry Taskforce Report.
  • $60 million in additional investment for active transport infrastructure. This will enable local councils to deliver projects that expand cycleway networks and increase opportunities for walking, including in greenfield developments in Western Sydney.

Regional Infrastructure Investement

The Minns Government’s first budget is also delivering on its commitment to ensure that the roads used by regional communities daily are reliable and that the essential transport infrastructure they rely on is safe and accessible. 

  • $1.4 billion for the delivery of a new regional rail fleet to replace the ageing regional fleet. 
  • $390 million to establish the Regional Emergency Road Repair Fund to support regional councils in managing existing roads and prioritising works based on the needs of their communities, particularly those damaged by natural disasters. 
  • $334 million to establish the Regional Roads Fund to build new roads in rural and regional areas. 
  • $333.9 million to replace ageing timber bridges through the Fixing Country Bridges program, providing improvements to regional bus services and supporting councils through the Fixing Local Roads Program. 
  • $95.9 million for the Fixing Country Rail program, to deliver improved capacity and reliability to the regional rail network and deliver a highly functional network for moving freight in and out of regional areas. 
  • $29.4 million to plan for the transition of fleet to Zero Emission buses, including trials, analysis and development. 
  • $20.2 million to continue the Transport Connected Bus Program. 
  • $10 million to improve the network of heavy vehicle rest stops across regional NSW. 

Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2

Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 is one step closer with the Minns Government allocating an additional $200 million in Restart NSW reserved funding towards this vital project in the 2023-24 NSW Budget.

The commitment will expedite the project’s planning processes, providing a platform for the government to meet its election commitment to see construction on the project begin this term of Parliament.

Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 is a vital transport link that will connect the Parramatta CBD to Sydney Olympic Park via the growing communities of Camellia, Rydalmere, Ermington, Melrose Park and Wentworth Point.

The 10-kilometre extension will include 14 new light rail stops that will provide residents with a long-awaited public transport link and unlock future housing growth, serving a population of over 277,586 by 2041.

Construction of this game-changing project will be phased, with the first phase being the construction of a 320m long light rail and active transport bridge over the Parramatta River between Wentworth Point and Melrose Park. Work on the new bridge will begin in 2024 and will be part of a new 8.5km walking and bike riding path that will run alongside the new light rail corridor.

Planned changes to the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 alignment include:

  • Camellia foreshore to Rydalmere alignment and bridge amendment
  • bridge and route alignment between Melrose Park and Wentworth Point
  • replace existing bridge at Hill Road.

The key benefits of these proposed amendments include:

  • easier connections between the Rydalmere Ferry Wharf and future light rail services
  • a shorter route to improve light rail journey times
  • reduced environmental impacts to the Narawang Wetland at Sydney Olympic Park
  • reduced impacts to sensitive mangrove vegetation on the Parramatta River
  • retention of significant fig trees and improved open spaces at Eric Primrose Reserve in Rydalmere

Planning approval for the full project is expected in early 2024, and procurement is now underway for the Wentworth to Melrose bridge construction works package. 

Industry feedback

Australasian Railway Association CEO Caroline Wilkie said it was encouraging to see the NSW Government continue its commitment to the vital Sydney Metro projects, maintaining funding allocations for Sydney Metro West, Sydney Metro to Western Sydney Airport and Sydney Metro City and Southwest.

“A safe, reliable and sustainable transport system is essential to enabling NSW communities to thrive as it is proven to deliver great economic, social and environmental benefits,” says Australasian Railway Association CEO Caroline Wilkie.

“These city-shaping transport infrastructure projects in NSW not only create tens of thousands of jobs during construction but, once complete, provide a vital connection for communities and reduce congestion on our busy roads,” says Australasian Railway Association CEO Caroline Wilkie.

“It is critical that we increase the capacity of the rail network to meet growing demand, with faster and more frequent and reliable services,” says Australasian Railway Association CEO Caroline Wilkie.

Responsible infrastructure investment means we are rebuilding essential services while lowering government debt for the first time in 20 years, all without privatising public assets.

The Minns Labor Government is setting out a long-term plan to repair the Budget in a sustainable way, to rebuild the essential services we all rely on, and to take pressure off NSW families and businesses.

Australian Constructors Association (ACA) CEO Jon Davies noted that ACA’s recently released ‘Nailing Construction Productivity’ report identified that NSW could be saving $17.3Bn annually if it closed the productivity gap between construction and other major industries.

“Industry knows how to become more productive but there are many obstacles to realising them that government, such as through the way it procures projects, is able to remove and drive positive change that will ultimately flow into the private sector and throughout the whole supply chain,” says Australian Constructors Association (ACA) CEO Jon Davies.

“ACA is already working collaboratively with a number of government agencies to realise these savings, but budget pressures and scarcity of resources highlight the need to prioritise and expedite this work,” says Australian Constructors Association (ACA) CEO Jon Davies.

Government should start by providing industry with increased certainty on the timing of major projects.

“Whilst we welcome the continued inclusion of funding in the budget for the Sydney Metro West project, it is unreasonable to expect industry to wait until the end of the year to get answers on the timing of the remaining sections still to be procured.” says Australian Constructors Association (ACA) CEO Jon Davies.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia feedback

“The Government has delivered a Budget that balances re-prioritised funding against a stark fiscal reality. Treasurer Mookhey has managed to land a largely intact core infrastructure package on a very narrow Budget runway,” says Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

“The New South Wales Budget commits $85.6 billion to infrastructure, equating to 16.6 per cent share of total spending. With continuing economic and fiscal challenges, the Government’s share of infrastructure funding has reduced from a high watermark of $88.4 billion – nearly 18 per cent of total spending – in last year’s Budget,” says Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

“The Budget confirms that Sydney Metro West, City and Southwest and Western Sydney Airport projects will be continued, with the Government having also previously cancelled the Wyangala Dam Wall Raising and New Dungowan Dam projects. A number of other projects have been confirmed as delayed or descoped, such as the Great Western Highway Duplication, Ultimo Powerhouse Museum and Fast Rail Program,” says Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

“The infrastructure budget still sits under a shadow cast by the Federal Government’s 90-Day Review, with the NSW Government estimating $14.2 billion of Federal infrastructure contributions remain subject to change,” says Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

“While it is pleasing to see the NSW Government confirm some projects which appeared at risk, the sector really needs certainty on the pipeline it has to deliver,” says Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

“The Budget also confirmed an investment of $1.8 billion toward the energy transition, of which, $1 billion will be directed towards establishing the Energy Security Corporation (ESC) and $800 million to investments focused on connecting wind and solar throughout the State’s Renewable Energy Zones.

The NSW Government will need to carefully manage its ESC investments to avoid crowding out private capital – inadvertently delaying the State’s transition,” says Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

“The NSW Government will discontinue rebates for electric vehicle purchases and stamp duty exemptions and refocus spending into vehicle charging infrastructure. Critically, the NSW Government has expressed continued support of road user charging for EVs – subject to the pending High Court decision. For toll paying road users, this Budget confirmed a $60 weekly cap for private motorists for two years from 1 January 2024 and a reduction in the truck toll multiplier on the M5 East and M8,” says Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

Source: © Transport for NSW 2023

Source: Infrastructure Partnerships Australia

Source: © Transport for NSW 2023

Source: © Transport for NSW 2023

Source: © Copyright 2023 – Australian Constructors Association

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