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The promise of funding for the Muswellbrook Bypass confirmed in NSW Budget


The promise of funding for the Muswellbrook bypass has been confirmed in the NSW Budget.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet handed down the 2019/20 Budget in the NSW Parliament this afternoon, with $266 million confirmed to deliver the New England Highway Bypass of Muswellbrook. 

Also confirmed in the budget today:

- $47.2 million for heavy vehicle safety and productivity and flood alleviation works on the Golden Highway (State and Federal funded)
- $28.7 million to continue construction of the New England Highway Bypass of Scone (State and Federal funded)
- $7 million to Upper Hunter Shire Council for the Scone main street upgrades 
- A further $61.7 million over four years to construct eight new Tafe Connected Learning Centres in regional and rural locations (including the Upper Hunter)
- $3 million for planning on the New England Highway (Goonoo Goonoo Road) duplication at Tamworth between Calala Lane and Jack Smyth Drive

The drought funding announced last week for NSW is of course included in the 2019/20 budget and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said it's a total of $1.7 billion.

"With drought now affecting close to 100 per cent of our state, our farming, rural and remote communities are being put to the ultimate test. Water is scarce, times are tough and people are hurting," he said.

"We can't control the rain, but what we can control is what we do about it, this is a budget for the bush with farmers at its heart."

"More transport subsidies for stock, fodder and water, further funds for emergency water supplies and waiving charges for water licenses, interest on drought loans and Local Land Services rates."

"We're fast tracking local infrastructure projects with another $170 million investment to keep people employed and families in towns," said Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

"We can't just wait for another crisis in order to act. As one farmer I met in Bourke said every day we are one day closer to when it rains, but we are also one day closer to when the next drought hits. This budget doesn't just provide relief for the current crisis but also provides solutions for the long term."

There's $1.4 billion for water security projects in this budget, funded by the Snowy Hydro Project.

- $355 million to extend critical drought assistance measures for farmers and rural communities
- $170 million for the Drought Stimulus Package
- $185 million in on-farm Emergency Drought Relief measures including continuing transport cost rebates and waiving annual land rates
- an additional $350 million towards the Farm Innovation Fund
- $3.4 million investment to start the process of extending the Wild Dog Exclusion Fence 
- $24.4 million towards delivering three new Doppler radars in Western NSW
- $15 million to build on partnerships with groups like GRDC, CSIRO and the University of New England to develop new R&D capacity and help keep our primary producers world leading.

With regards to the budget surplus, Dominic Perrottet said this budget delivers sustainable operating surpluses – averaging $1.7 billion per annum over the next four years. New South Wales continues to have the lowest net debt in Australia, projected to be negative $8.8 billion at June 2019.

Image credit: Dominic Perrottet Twitter https://twitter.com/Dom_Perrottet