Shoalhaven and the State Budget: How much did we get?

It was tall on spending, but short on surprises for the region. 

The 2017 NSW budget had plenty of cash to continue the region's work-in-progress projects - on the roads and at our hospitals - but little to satisfy those looking for a new, big ticket item. 

Despite many familiar projects popping up again, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet's first budget wasn't all doom and gloom – there were a few unexpected items thrown into the mix.

While not accounting for specific line items within the budget papers, schools are set to reap the benefits of a record $4.2 billion spend on education infrastructure over the next four years. 

Among the other "new works" revealed in Tuesday's budget was the reinvigoration of the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre in the Budderoo National Park at Jamberoo.

Transforming the rainforest centre into a first-class visitor destination has been costed at $4.7 million over three years, with $1.5 million allocated to the project in 2017-18.

On infrastructure of a different kind, $5.4 million will be spent the financial year to repair WIN Stadium's northern grandstand "to ensure public safety and the continued use of the stand for events".

The region's road users were by far the biggest winner, with $137 million to be pumped into continuing Princes Highway upgrades during 2017-18.

That money forms part of an overall four-year Princes Highway spend of $789.9 million.

As flagged, just over $17 million in planning and pre-construction money will go to the long-awaited Albion Park Rail bypass in the 2017-18 financial year.

The budget didn't include a start or completion date for the APR bypass, but stated $38.2 million had been spent on the project to date.

Elsewhere, the government allocated $19 million to guarantee the latest stage of the Princes Highway upgrade, between Berry and Bomaderry, will go ahead - and be complete by 2021. 

A total cost for the Berry to Bomaderry project wasn't included in the budget papers, which cited the amount as being "commercial-in-confidence".

However, the Mercury understands the cost is about $400 million.

The ongoing Illawarra road upgrades come as the government spends $73 billion on infrastructure over the next four years - “the equivalent equivalent to building 124 Harbour Bridges”, according to Mr Perrottet.

Money also went to continuing road improvements on the M1 Princes Motorway between Picton Road and Bulli Tops, as well as planning money for the interchange at the base of Mount Ousley.

The redevelopment of Bulli Hospital into an aged care centre of excellence also moved forward, with a $21 million spend in 2017-18. Construction of that project will start in the 2017-18 financial year.

On the justice front, the government will spend $86.8 million in 2017-18 of a $164 million project to deliver an additional 360 beds at Nowra's South Coast Correctional Centre.

Other budget winners included Illawarra families, with the government's new Active Kids Rebate to give parents $100 per school child a year to cover the cost of sport registration and membership fees from January 1.

Also from that date, llawarra small businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million will be exempt from paying duties on insurance for commercial vehicles, professional indemnity and public liability.

More generally, the government has established a $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, with Mr Perrottet using his budget speech to say regional communities were "the beating heart of NSW".

"In this budget we are turbocharging the regions like never before," he said.

Despite a $716.9 million spend on the Transport Access Program over the next four years, there was no budget line item for lifts at Unanderra train station.

An upgraded WIN Entertainment Centre also went begging. 


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