NSW budget 2019/20: what's in it for the Upper Hunter?

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said it was a''budget for the bush".
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said it was a''budget for the bush".

THE NSW Government handed down its 2019-20 budget on Tuesday, with several projects earmarked for continued funding in the Upper Hunter.

There is $28.7 million set aside to continue construction of the New England Highway bypass of Scone and a further $47.2 million for works on the Golden Highway.

Scone main street upgrades also got a mention, with $7 million set aside for Upper Hunter Shire Council's revitalisation of Kelly Street when the bypass is finished.

Further down the Valley, the government fulfilled a campaign promise with $4 million in the next financial year committed to the $266 million Muswellbrook bypass and another $2.7 million allocated to the Singleton bypass.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet claimed that it was a ''budget for the bush" when he delivered his speech in parliament on Tuesday and there's merit in the statement with the government splurging $1.7 billion into a regional growth fund and $1.8 billion in drought funding.

The budget papers include $355 million to extend critical drought assistance measures for farmers and rural communities and a further $170 million for a Drought Stimulus Package.

On-farm Emergency Drought Relief measures including continuing transport cost rebates and waiving annual land rates has been given an $185 million boost and there is an additional $350 million set aside for the Farm Innovation Fund.

The government has also set aside $3.4 million in the next financial year to start the process of extending the Wild Dog Exclusion Fence.

Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen told The Advocate on Tuesday there are lot of aspects to the budget that are state-wide which the Upper Hunter will reap the benefits of as well.

Part of that is new funding to support student's welfare and mental health with $88.4 million committed over four years to employ 100 additional school counsellors and an additional 350 student support officers.

The government has pledged to partner with mental health organisations, who will bring their expertise to public schools across the state to make sure mental health support is at the forefront.

A state-wide mobile blackspots program has been allocated $400 million with "$98 million for the coming 12 months to get it all on the way."

The big win has come for our frontline workers in the bush with almost half of the 8300 new medical staff to be allocated to the country.

"We said before the election that we were going to put on more than 8000 new health staff and the Hunter New England Health District has by far the biggest percentage of that," Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen said.

"It will have from memory 970 of the 8000 odd and about 670 nurses, allied health staff and admin staff."

There is also $500 million set aside to repair and replace worn-out wooden bridges, a further $500 million to repair, maintain and seal local roads, a $100 million expansion of the Stronger Country Communities fund and $170 million to fast-track critical water and infrastructure projects.

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