NSW Labor have announced it intends to introduce legislation to State Parliament to compel the Berejiklian Government to properly fund rural and regional projects through the Restart NSW Fund. NSW Labor Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord said the Restart NSW (Protecting Rural and Regional Infrastructure Funding) Amendment Bill will require the Liberal-National Government to adhere to its promise to spend a minimum of 30 per cent of Restart NSW funding in rural and regional areas by 2022. Since 2012, rural and regional NSW has received just $3 billion from Restart NSW, when it should have received more than $4.75 billion. Currently, the government has been caught out short-changing rural and regional NSW by $1.75 billion from the Restart NSW infrastructure fund. “The Bill also recommends a minimum of 30 per cent of the total infrastructure fund payments go towards regional programs by 30 June every year, commencing in 2022,” Mr Secord said.
Restart NSW was set up to fund the delivery of high-priority infrastructure projects that improve the State’s economic growth and prosperity, including country roads and water supply and sewerage services. "The government has so far only delivered 18.9 per cent of the program funding to rural and regional communities", Mr Secord said. “This is about providing critical infrastructure funding to our regional and rural communities, especially those confronting devastating drought and bushfires, high unemployment and summer heatwaves.” “Restart NSW is about getting jobs and investment in rural and regional areas as well as providing long-term infrastructure. “The Berejiklian-Barilaro Government is too Sydney-centric and has abandoned people in the bush and regional NSW. “They have made far too many false promises and this is yet another one. “A large amount of Restart NSW money flowed early on to city projects leaving the government playing catch-up to then get money into the regions. “This metropolitan spend includes $3.9 billion to Sydney Metro City and Southwest and $1.3 billion to WestConnex.” Mr Secord said the government was hanging onto $24 million of Resources for Regions funding from Restart NSW and Labor had repeatedly called on them to re-open the program to get that money to regional and rural mining communities. He said the government had admitted they would not reach their own target for Restart NSW. “Their under-spending and back-loading of regional and rural NSW’s fair share of infrastructure funding is totally unacceptable,” he said. “They should rectify their under-spend as soon as possible and then maintain the fair share of the NSW Restart spend in regional and rural areas for the life of the fund.”