WESTERN Sydney is set to reap half the expected $20 billion proceeds from the proposed privatisation of the state’s poles and wires while the Hunter has yet to receive a single funding commitment in Premier Mike Baird’s key pitch to voters.
The commitments to Western Sydney, for which Mr Baird is also regional minister, include $600 million for light rail in Parramatta, on top of $400 million previously promised for the project.
In contrast, Newcastle will not get any money from the privatisation while its rail truncation and light rail will be carried out for $460 million, including $340 million from the proceeds of the lease of the Port of Newcastle.
As the Newcastle Herald has reported, most of the expected proceeds from the electricity lease will go to Sydney, and nearly $6 billion will go to regional NSW – a category that includes the broader Hunter but not the Newcastle local government area.
The regional projects that will receive funding are expected to be announced during next year’s election campaign.
Of Sydney’s share, the bulk, $10 billion, is going to its western suburbs.
Promoting the spending, Mr Baird described western Sydney as the ‘‘engine room of the state’’, which would be transformed ‘‘for generations to come’’.
“In 20 years, every second Sydneysider will live in Greater Western Sydney and that is why more than half of the funding on offer in this strategy is being spent in a way that will benefit western Sydney,” he said.
The commitments include $600 million for western Sydney hospitals, $1 billion for improvements to its existing rail network, $600 million for a western Sydney sports stadium, while a cultural precinct will be established at Parramatta.
Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Kristen Keegan said the Hunter could still benefit by securing a share of the regional NSW allocation.
‘‘We’re not giving up on getting our fair share,’’ she said.
The lease of 49 per cent of the state’s electricity transmission and distribution businesses will go ahead if the Coalition is reelected.
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