Budget pie to feed the regions 

Regional NSW has been handed a large slice of the $93 billion NSW budget pie, which features infrastructure, health and drought support measures as its main ingredients. 

NSW Farmers President James Jackson says the Treasurer’s claim that this also is a ‘’budget for the bush” has merit, as it delivers critical investment in regional roads, hospitals, digital connectivity, drought support measures and frontline services.  

“Investment in regional communities was a key pillar of the NSW Farmers’ FOCUS pre-election campaign.” Mr Jackson said. 

“NSW Farmers asked for an $8 billion investment in regional transport and digital infrastructure, education and health. Thanks to a positive budget result and the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund, the budget has started to meet this critical need for investment outside of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.”

The Budget papers have confirmed $1 billion over five years to improve country roads and bridges, $200 million to flood proof the Newell Highway between Forbes and West Wyalong, $19.2 million to commencer the Great Western Highway upgrade and $44 million for Silver City and Cobb highway upgrades. 

“It’s now time to fast track the planning of this infrastructure spend and get on with job of construction so regional communities can realise the long term benefits as soon as possible,”Mr Jackson said. 

“It’s also a healthy budget for health services in NSW. Upgrades to regional hospitals and health facilities are always welcome news, but the State Government has also recognised the mental health impact of this crippling drought and responded to our advice by investing more in farm gate counselling services.”

“For farmers, an additional $355 million for drought support measures for farmers and town water infrastructure and a $350 million top up for the Farm Innovation Fund is a welcome commitment.”

“Farmers and agriculture across the state will also benefit from the $3.4 million to start the extension of the wild dog fence and $24.4 million for three new Doppler radars in NSW.”

The popular Quad Bike Safety Improvement program scored an extra $2.8 million in funding, which now includes rebates of up $500 to purchase drone technology. 

“Let’s hope that the establishment of a Dairy Business advisory unit will bring benefits to dairy farmers and investment in research and development capacity though key partnerships will help in leading us out of the drought.”
Budget pie to feed the regions
“There are, however, some missed opportunities in this budget that would have inspired further improvements in local food and fibre production. There is no mention of boosting biosecurity or recognizing the environmental stewardship of farmers.”

“It’s good to see that the new independent Agriculture commissioner will be funded, but this an important role that needs to be appropriately resourced to start addressing the important issues of right to farm and illegal trespass.”

Date: Tuesday 18 June 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228