Spending measures for Coast unveiled in State Budget

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, looks over the budget papers

Despite criticism from some quarters, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, says the Budget reflects millions of dollars to be spent on the Coast.

A highlight is $100 in Out & About vouchers for every adult on the Coast, which will support local cafes, restaurants, tourism sites and cultural attractions, he said.

Roads were the big winners, with a multitude of funding announced to progress vital roadworks.

The Budget contains $39.2M for the widening of the Pacific Hwy at Lisarow between Parsons Rd and Ourimbah St; $6.9M to progress several projects on the Peninsula; $1.5M to continue planning for the $387M duplication of Central Coast Hwy between Wamberal and Bateau Bay; $4.3M to finalise detailed design and commence early works on the Pacific Hwy upgrade through Wyong Town Centre; and $3.1M for the planning of an upgrade of Manns Rd at West Gosford between Stockyard Pl and Narara Creek Rd.

Schools on the Coast will benefit from free tutoring to be made available at every public school and the installation of energy efficient LED lights.

There is $15M set aside for the construction of the new 500-student Porters Creek Public School.

In the area of health, $111.1M has been allocated for construction work on the redevelopment of Wyong Hospital and $8.3M for the Central Coast Medical School and Central Coast Research Institute.

Gosford Hospital will receive $1.9M for a new 1.166 MWp solar power system to save on electricity bills and reduce emissions.

The rail network was another big winner, with $335M for the roll-out of New Intercity Fleet trains, which will be delivered to the Central Coast and Newcastle Line first.

There is also almost $60M for accessibility upgrades at Tuggerah, Niagara Park, Lisarow, Narara and Point Clare railway stations and more than $1.3M for improved all weather access at Woy Woy ($1.2M) and Koolewong ($17,000).

Continued planning for faster rail between Sydney and Newcastle receives $5M.

Business on the Coast will also benefit from a number on initiatives.

A new $250M Jobs Plus program is aimed at encouraging businesses to relocate to NSW, including the Central Coast.

The payroll tax-free threshold will increase from $1M to $1.2M and the payroll tax rate will be cut from 5.45 per cent to 4.85 per cent.

Hundreds of local small and medium-sized businesses will receive $1,500 vouchers to cover government fees and charges and there will be free access to expert advisors through the Business Connect program for business owners impacted by bushfires or COVID-19.

Grants of $5,000 are available for women affected by COVID-19 to help them overcome obstacles and return to the workforce and a new $5M support service will ensure local small businesses receive access to NSW Government contracts.

More than $17M has been allocated for maintenance and upgrades of social and affordable housing across the Central Coast, including $793,000 to construct new and upgrade existing social and affordable housing for Aboriginal communities in Killarney Vale.

The Coast also has access to a new $100M Greater Cities and Regional Sports Facility Fund.

Terry Collins

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