The NSW budget contains no new big-ticket items for the Hunter but continues government spending on key school, road and hospital projects.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced on Tuesday that the state would return a budget deficit of $7.9 billion after its sharpest economic fall in 80 years but would bounce back to a small surplus by 2024-25.
He forecast economic growth of 3.25 per cent for 2021-22 and unemployment to fall from an already better-than-predicted 5 per cent to 4.5 per cent by 2024-25.
Mr Perrottet outlined a $108.5 billion infrastructure spend over the next four years, but the Hunter did not attract a significant new allocation for capital works.
Many of the Hunter projects to receive planning money on Tuesday have been in the planning stage for at least four years.
One project to attract building funds is "Newcastle Education Campus" at Newcastle High School, which will receive $5.6 million to start construction work.
No details of the project have been released, but the Department of Education confirmed on Tuesday that the "campus" would be contained within the boundary of the existing high school.
The campus was first mooted as a wider precinct possibly incorporating new community recreation facilities at National Park.
The new $500 million Maitland Hospital being built at Metford will receive another $59.1 million in the 2021-22 financial year, and another $34 million will flow to the planned $835 million John Hunter Hospital rebuild.
Stage three of the Muswellbrook Hospital redevelopment will receive $7 million.
The New England Highway bypasses of Singleton and Muswellbrook will each receive $14 million for more planning and pre-construction works.
Another $29 million has been allocated to continue work on stage five of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass between Rankin Park and Jesmond, and the government will spend another $28 million on planning for the M1 Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace.
The government has made good on its Upper Hunter by-election promise to spend $25 million on improving Dungog Shire's horrendous roads.
The long-awaited Nelson Bay Road duplication will receive another $7.5 million to start work on a one-kilometre section from Anna Bay to Bobs Farm, and the Fingal Bay link road project will bubble along with another $500,000 in planning money.
The budget also includes $2.9 million, and $10.9 million over four years, to continue planning and start upgrade works on Hillsborough Road to improve traffic flow and safety.
The government also committed $35 million on Tuesday to complete stage one of the road's upgrade.
The Testers Hollow upgrade in Cessnock Road, outside Maitland, will receive $5.2 million over the next two years. The federal government is providing $15 million of the $17 million project cost and the NSW government $2 million.
Another by-election promise, a new $12 million police station at Singleton, will receive $2.5 million in the coming financial year, and Newcastle Police Station's ongoing $6.5 million refurbishment will receive $2 million.
The government will increase its spending on planning for the Lower Hunter freight rail corridor between Hexham and Fassifern from $4.7 million this year to $12.2 million in 2021-22.
Commuter car parks at Morisset, Fassifern and Cardiff train stations will receive another $2.3 million for planning.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said his department would spend $45 million in the coming year, and $298 million over four years, to continue planning for fast rail connections between Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, the south coast and central west.
The government will also outlay another $345 million in the coming year on the new Mariyung train fleet for travel between Sydney, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and South Coast.
The budget offers $24.7 million for detailed planning and site assessments for a water pipeline between Lostock Dam and Glennies Creek Dam.
It also provides $22 million for groundwater bores near Newcastle, Narrabri and Gunnedah to monitor the effects of nearby coalmines and coal seam gas operations.
As the Newcastle Herald has reported in recent weeks, the government will spend $6.7 million on a new business case for the Hunter Park sports, entertainment and residential precinct at Broadmeadow, $4.4 million on a new entrance and car park at Birubi beach and $4.9 million for an Aboriginal cultural hub and museum outside Cessnock.
Other school funding includes a $3.3 million upgrade of Muswellbrook South Public, $1.9 million for Hunter River High and $1.6 million for Irrawang High.
The Newcastle Airport and Newcastle Art Gallery upgrades missed out on funding, though the airport's special activation precinct will share in a $50 million allocation with Moree and Snowy Mountains.
The budget allocates $3.1 million for new and upgraded social housing for Aboriginal communities in Blacksmiths, Bolton Point and Wallsend and $1 million for Boolaroo residents affected by lead contamination from the former smelter in the suburb.
The budget papers also touch on the vexed question of whether the NSW government classes the Newcastle local government area as regional or part of the Greater Sydney metropolitan area.
The city is classed as neither under some government funding programs, but Tuesday's budget says the "metropolitan Newcastle LGA" is "not considered part of Regional NSW".
Mining royalties, a large chunk of which flow from Hunter coal exports, are tipped to top $1.6 billion in 2021-22, up from $1.4 billion this year and $51 million more than Treasury forecast in its half-yearly budget review last year.
"The short-term increase in mining royalties reflects improved expectations for thermal coal prices, notably in 2021-22, but this is largely offset by higher exchange rate assumptions and weaker expectations for gold prices, relative to the 2020-21 half-yearly review," the budget papers say.
The government announced in March that it was setting up the $300 million Royalties for Rejuvenation Fund to support communities affected by mine closures.
It also plans to direct mining royalties to its NSW Generations Fund, a long-term sovereign wealth fund designed to pay down debt.
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