Regional roads, water, schools and hospitals were the main winners in the NSW 2017-18 state budget handed down yesterday.
And $12 million in tax cuts for the farming sector also means the budget was a winner for agriculture too.
A record $1.3 billion of funding in a Regional Growth Fund has been allocated to regional areas.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said in his budget speech the funding for regional areas was “unprecedented”.
“With our regional population expected to reach 3.4 million by 2031, regional growth will become an even more important driver of our prosperity,” he said.
Some of the highlights for regional areas include:
- 27 new schools in regional NSW under the $2.2 billion schools budget
- $46 million to boost connectivity in country schools
- A $7.7 billion health budget over four years includes $43 million for Dubbo hospital, $30 million for the redevelopment of Armidale and Inverell hospitals, $8 million for a new hospital at Mudgee, and $10 million for the redevelopment of the Goulburn hospital.
- $65 million for grains research at Trangie
- $4.25 million for the Northern Inland Centre of Sporting Excellence in Tamworth
- $500 million was allocated to fix country roads, including $9.9 million for the Newell Highway, $9.5 million for the Mitchell Highway, $5 million for the New England Highway, Belford to Golden Highway and $29 million for a New England bypass at Scone
- $38 million was set aside for contract large air tankers for bushfire fighting
- $500 million – which has already been announced – for the Broken Hill water pipeline
- $182 million for Local Land Services for farmers implementing land management and biodiversity reforms
- $200 million to fix country bridges
Primary producers are also being touted as winners in the budget. One of the biggest announcements is that farm insurance bills will be cut next year under a new wave of tax cuts. Duties on crop and livestock insurance will be abolished from January 1 next year which will save farmers $12 million over the next four years.
Meanwhile, $965 million has been set aside for the primary industries sector in the budget which includes $75 million for the Farm Innovation Fund which helps producers prepare for drought and $15 million was set aside for the AgSkills strategy to help the cotton and grains industries attract new workers and up-skill current employees.
With Seftons being a driver for young people being involved in agriculture, we were pleased to see $6 million announced for the Young Farmer Business Project over four years, which helps the next generation of farmers build their financial and risk management skills.
Other funding allocations include $18 million to continue developing the Murray Darling Basin Plan, $64 million to destroy Imported Red Fire Ants and $2 million to research secure facilities for growing medicinal cannabis.
The Business Connect Program, which helps small businesses in regional NSW plan, adapt to digital disruption and survive natural disasters received $7.5 million.
Seftons is proud to be involved in agriculture and regional NSW and hopes these budget announcements go some way toward the NSW Government’s aim to achieve a 30 per cent growth in the value of primary production by 2020.