The NSW Government’s record investment in transformative infrastructure projects in its 2018-19 Budget will help to future-proof the State’s transport network as well as support a supercharged visitor economy, the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) said today.
“NSW’s rock solid fiscal position has allowed the Government to continue digging and drilling to build a truly world-class public transport system that will create jobs, improve transport connectivity, reduce congestion and help to make Sydney and NSW not only better places to live, but to visit,” TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said.
“Prior to today’s Budget TTF called on the Berejiklian Government to prioritise funding for the critical Metro West project, and today it is the centrepiece of the Government’s public transport infrastructure spend.
“This project has the potential to revolutionise Sydney’s public transport network by doubling the rail capacity of the Parramatta to Sydney transport corridor while also unlocking the tourism potential of Sydney’s West, as well as further afield into regional NSW.
“TTF also welcomes the $258 million to begin construction of Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1, the further $20 million for planning Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 and the $35 million commitment to support planning and the final business case for the North-South Rail Stage 1 to service the new Western Sydney Airport.”
Ms Osmond said the $290 million investment into the NSW visitor economy will further enhance the growth of the State’s booming visitor economy.
“The NSW Government must be commended for its broader and ongoing commitment to the Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan and for funding a number of innovative reforms to address some of the key challenges facing the sector,” Ms Osmond said.
“The NSW Government’s $285 million commitment to waive TAFE fees for 100,000 apprentices will help address the critical skills shortage the tourism and hospitality sectors are currently facing.
“This is the number one issue currently facing the industry and the Government must be commended on acknowledging that unless more people are brought into the workforce it will very soon reach a crisis point.
“The $630 million commitment to grow tourism and recreational opportunities by improving the State’s national parks, walking trails and public parklands will go a long way towards seeing NSW reach its potential as a leading nature-based tourism destination globally.
“This is in addition to the $300 million Regional Growth: Environment and Tourism Fund, which is already boosting the visitor economy in regional areas with $142 million already committed to specific regional environment and tourism infrastructure projects.
“TTF also welcomes the decision to support the booming ‘Grey Nomad’ market by slashing the motor vehicle tax for private caravan owners by 40 per cent. This will provide an enormous boost to the State’s regional visitor economy by encouraging more people to consider caravanning as a great way to see every corner of NSW.”