Billions in budget boost to regional NSW to improve quality of life and business opportunities
The Minns Labor Government has delivered a suite of new initiatives to regional NSW investing in essential services and infrastructure, improving service delivery and the quality of life in rural and regional communities.
The 2023–2024 NSW Budget includes $3.8 billion for regional health facilities, $1.4 billion for regional schools, and $1.8 billion in new investments to strengthen regional NSW.
The NSW Government is committed to supporting regional communities to thrive and to continue to be a great place to live, work and set down roots.
Helping regional communities thrive:
- $1.2 billion of targeted projects and grant programs that support councils, communities and businesses across regional NSW to enhance economic growth, social development, wellbeing and community amenity.
- $350 million for the Regional Development Fund to invest in the future needs of regional communities, aligned with the Australian Government Regional Investment Framework.
- $252.1 million for world class digital services and telecommunication pricing to rural and regional NSW.
- $6 million to support regional community newspapers to improve the long-term sustainability of regionally focused media.
- $5.2 million to establish the Regional Future Jobs and Investment Authorities to work with community leaders to transition away from a coal-based economy.
Reinvesting in regional essential services:
- $438.6 million for 500 new regional paramedics to address the paramedic shortage and improve ambulance response times.
- Doubling of the incentive payments for healthcare workers moving to regional and remote areas from $10,000 to $20,000.
- $572.3 million to ensure 1112 nurses and midwives, whose positions were funded only temporarily until June 2024 will be made permanent, with hundreds of these positions in rural and regional NSW.
- $419.1 million to begin the introduction of Safe Staffing levels in NSW hospitals.
- $1.4 billion over 4 years to deliver a massive pipeline of new and upgraded schools for regional NSW.
- $769.3 million to 2027 for 100 new preschools on public school sites where they are needed most across the state.
- $40 million to support not-for-profit early childhood education in high growth and regional communities, as well as a trial of more flexible service delivery models.
- Providing equal opportunities for rural and remote students through digital uplifts under the Rural Access Gap program.
Supporting resilient agricultural and regional industries:
- $5.5 million to appoint an independent Agriculture Commissioner to provide more protection for our farmland, ensure food security and a more prosperous agricultural industry.
- $10 million to establish the Good Neighbour Program to tackle weed and pest infestations between neighbouring public and private lands.
- $58.8 million to help Landcare address environmental degradation with interventions that improve and sustain agricultural productivity, environmental protection, resilience to natural disasters and community vitality.
- $2.2 million to re-engage a Dairy and Fresh Food Advocate to review supply chains, address food security issues, and be a voice for farmers.
- $77.2 million to support beekeepers, horticulture and industries affected by the varroa mite.
- $80 million to protect NSW from the march of red imported fire ants.
- $39 million partnership with the Australian Government, supporting sheep and goat farmers implement a mandatory individual electronic identification across NSW to provide traceability to protect primary producers from biosecurity risks.
- $13 million Feral Pig Control Program to reduce the number of feral pigs and protect primary producers and farming communities.
- $11.1 million for the Farm Business Resilience Program to help farms to prepare for and adapt to climate change.
- $10.2 million to support prawn fishers, farmers and businesses with targeted responses to white spot disease.
- $13.5 million to assist timber mills recovering from the Black Summer bushfires with the Construction Softwood Transport Assistance Program.
Addressing regional housing pressure:
- $1.5 billion from the new Housing and Productivity Contribution to deliver enabling infrastructure in key growth areas, including the Central Coast, Lower Hunter and Illawarra-Shoalhaven.
- $100 million from the new Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver infrastructure projects in regional NSW to unlock housing supply.
- Debt financing of $700 million to accelerate the delivery of social, affordable and private homes primarily in regional NSW.
- 60 million for Build to Rent trials in the South Coast and Northern Rivers.
Upgrading critical regional roads, rail and transport services:
- Continuing the $1.4 billion delivery of a new regional rail fleet.
- $390 million for the establishment of the Regional Emergency Road Repair Fund to support regional councils in managing existing roads, particularly those damaged by natural disasters.
- $334.million for the establishment of 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.
- $95.5 million for the Fixing Country Rail program to continue delivery of improved capacity and reliability on the regional rail network.
- $10 million to improve the network of heavy vehicle rest stops across regional NSW.
Supporting Regional NSW transition to a clean energy future:
- $1 billion in seed funding to create the NSW Energy Security Corporation, which will help deliver projects that provide affordable, accessible and reliable energy across NSW.
- $804 million to accelerate the delivery of Renewable Energy Zones and other critical transmission projects.
Supporting disaster recovery and preparedness:
- $4 billion for targeted disaster recovery programs to support communities, regional councils, and businesses across NSW to recover, rebuild and prosper.
- $5 million to support the Two Rooms Project, helping flood survivors in Lismore get back into their homes.
- $3.3 million for a natural disaster detection system to protect communities in high-risk areas.
Ensuring water security:
- $222.4 million with the Australian Government for improvements to critical water supply infrastructure for Wilcannia, Eurobodalla and Cobar.
- $217.5 million to continue Safe and Secure Water Program initiatives, supporting regional towns dealing with water supply, quality and safety risks.
- $5 million contribution for the Northern Rivers Watershed Initiative to improve water security and catchment health.
- Delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan commitments to support river health, access to water and better water efficiencies to minimise the impacts of Australian Government buybacks.