Monday 26 June 2017
The 2017-2018 NSW Budget continues the long history of funding roads over public transport. WestConnex will get a whopping $7.2 billion this year alone, compared to $4.9 billion over four years for the metro. Other Sydney motorway projects include the M12, NorthConnex and M5. Expanding roads reduces community space, pollutes the environment and adds to long term congestion.
There is funding for the Edgecliff Station upgrade, however it is packaged in with other station upgrades so it is unclear what work will occur in the coming year. New CBD bike paths including a link between Kent Street and the Harbour Bridge are welcome but it’s not enough to fix dwindling cycling rates caused by recent anti-cycling policies including harsh penalties for small offences.
There are few wins for the environment. A fund has been established to save threatened species but this comes at a time when biodiversity protections have been destroyed and it will do little to save rare flora and fauna. There is funding for electricity efficiency and encouraging the uptake of renewables but these modest programs will fail to transfer NSW to a clean green economy.
In addition to funding for the Sydney Modern Project, over $1 million will fund planning for extensions to the Australian Museum.
Homelessness services will receive an additional $20 million, which will have minor impact. Again the budget fails our parklands with no recurrent operational funds.