NSW budget tick


Industry in New South Wales is impressed with the budget which provides ample transport funding

The New South Wales (NSW) bus industry has welcomed the 2016-17 NSW Budget announcements which include a record $10.5 billion for public transport.

BusNSW executive director Darryl Mellish says the association joins the other industry bodies in ‘providing a tick for the NSW State Budget’.

"From a Transport perspective it provides an impressive list of infrastructure projects and ongoing funding for transport services," he says.

Some of the key initiatives in the budget support the priority to maintain or improve the reliability of public transport services.

This includes $1.4 billion for bus services throughout NSW, including rural and regional bus services, school services in country areas, and financing 218 buses to replace older vehicles and provide capacity for growth services

There is also $234 million to plan and continue building infrastructure to support bus priority on key corridors, including $210 million for B-Line.

There is also funding for ticketing, concessions and community transport and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

This includes $560 million for public transport concessions including pensioners, seniors and people with disabilities, and $84 million for community transport and home and community care services to assist people with transport disadvantage.

An allocation of $1.3 billion allocated for the implementation of NDIS in the state is also significant.

"BusNSW would like to have seen more growth buses allocated for service improvements and alterations in addition to the 218 replacement/new buses noted in the budget papers," says Mellish.

"This would facilitate improvements to on time running and customer satisfaction which are plateauing with current congestion and resource allocations.

"The absence of Sydney Coach Terminal is also an omission from the infrastructure projects given the importance of tourism to Sydney/New South Wales, and the difficulty tourists and charter groups have showcasing Sydney’s icons and hotels.

"There are conference, exhibition and casino facilities but no new large scale coach parking and layover facilities."

 Mellish also notes the section of the budget papers on reforms to taxi, hire car and ride sharing providers (operating with vehicle carrying up to 12 people including the driver) and the move to a separate regulatory model for these services.

 

"With a bottom line budget surplus and record spending on infrastructure the challenge is now for the transport cluster to foster a culture of partnership and engagement with industry, to ensure the many mutual benefits can be successfully realised," he says.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance says this year’s transport budget is focused on delivering our massive infrastructure program that will transform the state.

"Underpinning our massive infrastructure investment are the funds to continue to grow services on existing public transport networks and ensure they are maintained to high standards," he says.

Constance notes the budget includes $1.3 billion for Sydney Metro Northwest and about $1.4 billion has been allocated for the second stage, Sydney Metro City and Southwest.

Planning and delivery of the state’s three new light rail networks will also continue, with $71 million to continue delivery of the CBD and South East Light Rail, $64 million to continue planning and preparatory work for Parramatta Light Rail and $142 million for Newcastle Light Rail.

Train customers will benefit from $407 million to plan, develop and deliver enhancements to infrastructure and fleet to provide increased and improved rail services, including more express services to Western Sydney.  

The NSW Budget also sets aside more than $1 billion for new suburban trains. A procurement process will begin in 2016, pending market engagement which will determine the size of the order and timing for delivery. The new trains would support increased patronage across the rail network and additional services.

A record $1.3 billion has been allocated in 2016-17 to renew and maintain the Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink networks to continue to improve safety and reliability for train customers.

The budget also continues the modernisation of the Sydney Ferries network, with $30 million to continue delivery of six new inner harbour ferries, the first of which is due to be delivered by the end of 2016. There is also $17 million to continue construction of a new ferry wharf at Barangaroo and $8 million to kick off the delivery of four new ferries for the Parramatta River.

Constance says the challenge of improving public transport accessibility continues to be addressed in this year’s budget.

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook