Roads top Piper's State Budget wishlist

17th November 2020

Source: Newcastle Herald | By: Nick Bielby | Posted: November 17, 2020

The NSW government has included $20 million for work on the Newcastle Inner City Bypass in its 2020-21 budget, ahead of the official opening of the new bridge over Newcastle Road at Jesmond this week.

It comes as some of the region's MPs yesterday set out their priorities for the budget, which will be handed down in Sydney today.

The bypass money will fund early works at New Lambton Heights - such as relocating utilities - expected to begin next year.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Andrew Constance has announced pedestrians and cyclists would get their first chance to use the new shared path bridge between Croudace Street and the Jesmond roundabout - also part of the bypass plan - on Wednesday.

"This project has been a strong contributor to the Newcastle economy, helping sustain 45 full-time positions and providing work for 62 contractors and suppliers during construction," Mr Constance said.

Labor Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery said she did not want to see "a re-announcement of funding" for projects in today's budget and named police resources, improved public transport and solutions for local road congestion as among the region's top priorities.

"I want to see money provided for the protection of the Wallsend CBD from flooding," she said.

"The government is happy to take a $100 million dividend from Hunter Water, so we want to see some of that money come back to widen the stormwater assets that they own and manage."

Independent Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper said he met with Premier Gladys Berejiklian last week to "argue our case for a lot of things" - particularly investment in roads in the Speers Point and Boolaroo areas as well as at Hillborough Road.

"I've also made submissions about multi-deck commuter car parks, particularly for Morisset, and upgrades to our three public high schools which would provide jobs and an economic boost during our COVID recovery," he said.

"But I'd really like to see a significant investment in health services in the Southlakes area."

Labor Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said there were several shovel-ready projects in his electorate that were prime for funding, and that the city was an ideal place to invest in job-creating stimulus.

He named the Newcastle Art Gallery, the Victoria Theatre, the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct and the Newcastle Education Precinct as being among the priority projects.

"The government has been working with me to transform Newcastle into a world-class city for arts and nightlife, and kicking into the redevelopment of the Newcastle Art Gallery and the restoration of the Victoria Theatre will only benefit this," he said.

"Meanwhile, this budget is also an opportunity to progress some long-announced projects so we can get boots on the ground sooner rather than later." 

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