Perrottet drives enormous roads spend in NSW Budget

Sydney motorways get huge share but regions also gain

Perrottet drives enormous roads spend in NSW Budget
Dominic Perrottet


New South Wales treasurer Dominic Perrottet has brought down a Budget that presses the accelerator on road infrastructure spending in the state.

In a document that boasts a record investment of $55.6 billion in public transport and roads, much of that spend is focused on the massive amount of freeway building in and around Sydney.

Not all of it is aimed at concrete and bitumen, though, with smart motorways technology aimed at ameliorating congestion attracting more than half a billion dollars.

The state government is willing to share the largesse with the regions, however.

Big-ticket items include:

  • $6.4 billion in funding over the next four years to accelerate the delivery of the Sydney Metro West, commencing construction in 2020
  • $268 million over four years as part of a $2.5 billion commitment to start the duplication of the full 31km of the Great Western Highway between Katoomba and Lithgow for a four-lane highway
  • $322 million over four years as part of an additional $960 million commitment for various upgrades to the Princes Highway between Nowra and the Victorian border
  • $500 million total commitment for the Fixing Country Bridges program.

The government says its Budget supports the $695 million commitment for technology upgrades to reduce congestion including:

  • intelligent traffic lights at priority intersections able to read the flow of the traffic and to clear traffic queues, reducing the number of stops in traffic by up to 15 per cent
  • ramp meters, variable speed and message signs and active CCTV monitoring to automatically adjust the speed of vehicles entering the motorway, to smooth traffic flow, and increase capacity
  • digital parking and clearway signage to reduce the number of parking and clearway signs removing confusion for drivers
  • investment  in drone technology and virtual messaging to monitor more of the road network in real time and to report and clear incidents faster.

"Capital expenditure on transport in 2019-20 is forecast to be $13.4 billion, or 60.1 per cent of total capital expenditure," the Budget papers state.

"This expenditure will ensure the continued delivery of major capital transport projects including the final stages of WestConnex (the M4-M5 link tunnels and Rozelle Interchange), Sydney Metro City and Southwest linking Chatswood and Bankstown, the Pacific Highway upgrade program (continuing construction between Woolgoolga and Ballina and planning and preconstruction activities for the Coffs Harbour bypass), upgrades to support the new Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek (including The Northern Road between Narellan and Penrith and the M12 Motorway), continuation of the Princes Highway upgrades and completion of the CBD and South East Light Rail."

Read about Queensland’s recent Budget spending priorities, here

The Budget provides $450 million additional funding to reduce congestion at a further 12 "pinch points", including at intersections along major arterial roads and regional links within Sydney.

Further investment in Western Sydney roads, including $220 million in upgrades to Mamre Road along a 3.8km section to a four-lane dual carriageway between the M4 Motorway and Erskine Park Road, and $260 million for Mulgoa Road upgrades, to tackle congestion and delays during peak times.

The Budget papers note a range of regional road, rail and bridge projects have been allocated a total of $677.5 million from Restart NSW since the 2018-2019 Budget.

Additional funds now specifically allocated to these programs include:

  • Regional Road Freight Corridor, $353.9 million
  • Fixing Country Roads, $138.3 million
  • Fixing Country Rail, $73.4 million
  • Regional Growth Roads, $8.7 million.                          

In other freight-related expenditure, drought relief to regional communities is to see $70 million go to continue to rebate transport costs for fodder, stock and water, up to a cap of $40,000 in 2019-20 per farming enterprise, and $7 million for exemptions from registration fees for agricultural vehicles.

Payroll tax is something of competition item between the states, this year, with Queensland and Victoria announcing action on the measure.

As foreshadowed last year, the NSW payroll tax threshold will rise progressively from its previous level of $750,000 in 2017-18 to $1 million in 2021-22.

The threshold will be increased from its current level of $850,000 in 2018-19 to $900,000 in 2019-20, $950,000 in 2020-21 and $1 million in 2021-22.

This year’s increase in the payroll tax threshold will save New South Wales’ businesses $187 million and further threshold increases over the next two years will provide savings of $571 million.


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