HOSPITAL upgrades and major road improvements have dominated the 2020-21 NSW Budget locally today, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall ecstatic about the level of funding provided to progress major projects and create jobs in the region.
The record capital spend of more than $315.7 million over the next seven months, surpasses last year's record spend of $304.3 million in the electorate.
Mr Marshall said the delivery of today's COVID-19 budget built on the millions of dollars already injected by the State Government into local communities, to fast-track road works, improve health services and upgrade public facilities.
"This is record-breaking funding - never before has the Northern Tablelands experienced a funding package like this," Mr Marshall said.
"While this budget reflects the tough economic times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, bushfires and drought, the State Government has still provided the money we need to better our hospitals, invest in schools and continue to aid our small economies to recover.
"This is all due to our proactive local councils and their communities working together and being persistent in lobbying government for their fair share for these important projects that will enhance our region.
"Not only that, but our local councils have proven over the last 12 months they are capable of standing up and successfully delivering worthwhile tax-payer funded projects which will create new business opportunities and encourage their communities to thrive.
"Full credit goes to the community, they have earned this result today."
Some of the key projects that have been funded in the Northern Tablelands include a further $19.8 million for the $60 million Inverell Hospital redevelopment, $500,000 to kick-start and bring forward the $20 million refurbishment of Glen Innes Hospital, $2 million to fast-track and begin the $80 million redevelopment of Moree Hospital and $47.1 million for the continued construction of the Newell Highway upgrade between Mungle Back Creek and Boggabilla.
Another $7.42 million has been provided to complete the construction of the new 24-hour Police Station in Inverell early next year and $1.7 million to begin construction on the New England Rural Fire Service Control Centre at Armidale Airport.
There's also an additional $27.46 million to continue construction on the $121.1 million Armidale Secondary College, the first new high school to be built in our region for half a century and the best in all of NSW.
Local council's in the electorate will also have the pressure eased on their contribution to road works with almost $29.398 million to be provided through grants for maintenance and upgrades. This has more than doubled from last year's Budget.
There will be $102.8 million in new roads and bridges funding for the Northern Tablelands, surpassing last year's record allocation of $85 million.
Taking last year's Payroll Tax relief to a new level, the Payroll Tax threshold will be increased from $1 million to $1.2 million and the rate will be reduced to the lowest in Australia at 4.85 per cent.
Regional and remote communities in will continue to benefit from the record breaking Regional Growth Fund, with that program receiving a $300 million increase through the budget, permitting a fourth round of the transformational Stronger Country Communities Fund. To date, those two funds have provided an astronomical $37.3 million for 112 individual projects across the Northern Tablelands.
In a huge boost for regional hospitality operators, every person over the age of 18 will be given $100 in vouchers to be spent on dining and entertainment, with a total cost to the Budget of $500 million.
"This record $315 million budget will help move our region forward - we deserve every single cent - and I'll ensure we keep that momentum going across the next seven months," Mr Marshall said.
Some of the budget highlights for the Northern Tablelands include:
$27.5 million extra for the new $121.2 million Armidale Secondary College;
$13.5 million extra for the $60 million Inverell District Hospital redevelopment;
$7.4 million extra to build a new 24-hour Police Station in Inverell;
$29.4 million to local councils for road maintenance;
$1.7 million to start construction on new Fire Control Centre at Armidale;
$3.61 million for new and upgraded social housing in Moree, Armidale and Inverell;
$2 million to fast-track the $80 million Moree Hospital redevelopment;
$500,000 to commence the $20 million refurbishment of Glen Innes Hospital;
$3.7 million for Uralla Shire Council to construct a sewerage system at Bundarra;
$1.4 million for upgrade works at Armidale Railway Station;
$3.1 million to expand the Moree water supply;
$5.8 million for Puddledock Dam pipeline, near Armidale;
$4.13 million to construct the Ashley water supply scheme;
$1.8 million to redevelop Saumarez Homestead at Armidale;
$3.8 million extra for the $6.12 million Boilerhouse Discovery Space at Armidale;
$3.6 million extra for Copeton Dam Northern Foreshores upgrade at Inverell;
$3.4 million for Moree Intermodal north south rail link;
$102.8 million to fund road upgrades across the Northern Tablelands, including: $47.1 million to continue construction of the Newell Highway heavy duty pavement upgrade between Mungle Back Creek and Boggabilla;
$7.2 million to raise and upgrade the Gwydir Highway at the Washpool, near Moree;
$615,000 for new cycleways and footpaths in Inverell and Uralla;
$2 million for Newell Highway heavy duty pavement replacement at Moree;
$1.1 million to construct new Tolleys Bridge on Thunderbolts Way, near Uralla;
$3.7 million for Yetman Road upgrade near Inverell;
$4.1 million extra for Kempsey to Armidale Road;
$9.5 million to seal I B Bore Road, near North Star;
$3.04 million for Warialda High Productivity Route;
$3.4 million extra for Copeton Dam Northern Foreshores upgrade at Inverell;
$5 million to seal Horton Road at Upper Horton;
$3.2 million extra to seal Carrigan Road - Mungindi to Boomi section;
$2.2 million new Gwydir Highway roundabout at Inverell.