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NSW Labor Government Greenlights Richmond Bridge Funding and Pitt Town Bypass in Budget

Sep 19, 2023

The NSW state Labor government has given the green light for funding the new Richmond Bridge, a project backed jointly by the NSW and federal governments in the Minns government’s first NSW State Budget that has paved the way for critical infrastructure projects.

Pitt Town residents also breathed a sigh of relief with confirmation that construction would soon commence on the long-anticipated Pitt Town Bypass. An initial allocation of $12 million has been secured to jumpstart this project that has been estimated at $100 million.

The budget also includes major new road funding for Western Sydney as well as disaster relief, although not yet specified, that will apply to the Hawkesbury as the government attempted to rein in the vast deficit left to it while providing infrastructure for the future.

NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey announced $13 billion in cuts and savings and increased a tax on multinationals as he lifted public service wage ceiling that has left many struggling,  promising pay rises for nurses and teachers.

He forecast a $7.8 billion deficit this financial year, followed by an $800 million surplus in 2024-25 and $1.5 billion surplus by 2026-27.

“I’m certainly not going to suggest this surplus is locked and loaded,” he warned, citing global uncertainty.

Opposition Leader Mark Speakman described the budget as a “mirage” and said that the real cost of pay rises to public servants was a mystery.

The budget has reassured many that the new Labor government would not abandon these initiatives. Last week, the Member for Hawkesbury Robyn Preston took to the floor of parliament to urge the government not to abandon Pitt Town residents who have been waiting decades for  a bypass.

President of the Pitt Town Progress Association Chris Bell said it was a worrying few months but today had reason to celebrate.

“Any step towards getting 1000 trucks out of town is a good step and this is the first step. It’s better than we’ve got in the last 60 years. $12 million to start building it. It’s a start and we go from there,” Bell said.

The project’s initial phase will involve extending Pitt Town Road and introducing two new roundabouts, aimed at enhancing road safety. Additionally, it will alleviate the town centre’s congestion by relocating heavy vehicles, thereby supporting the new residential development to the north of Pitt Town. Elsewhere, Bells Line of Road will witness a considerable boost with a $100 million allocation over four years for road improvements.

Funding for the third river crossing at Richmond has been confirmed.

While funding the third river crossing at Richmond has been assured the preferred option – a duplication bridge next to the existing bridge – remains unpopular with many residents who see it as neither a traffic nor flood fix. The proposed route falls well short of the bypass residents had hoped for. The community is also angry about the impact the route will have on the historical site Durham Bowes.

This budget has earmarked $770 million to establish an Urban Roads Fund, aimed at tackling congestion in metropolitan areas. Notably, $200 million over two years will be channelled towards the Western Sydney Floods Resilience Plan, which encompasses projects such as the Richmond Road Upgrade – M7 to Townson Road, Pitt Town Bypass, Garfield Road East Upgrade between Windsor Road, Box Hill and Piccadilly Street, Riverstone, and the intersection upgrade of The Driftway and Londonderry Road.

The budget also allocated a surprise $4 billion for natural disaster support and recovery programs, aimed at addressing the financial aftermath of several devastating floods, including those in March 2021, November 2021, February and July 2022, and August and September 2022. This will target various flood impacted various regions, including in the Hawkesbury.

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