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Budget to deliver record infrastructure boost

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City of Newcastle (CN) has earmarked more than $137 million for investment into local facilities and infrastructure projects.

It’s all part of a record financial plan, which balances community needs with a $6.9 million surplus. 

Now, council will place its 2023-24 Budget on public exhibition for residents’ feedback this week.

It includes CN’s largest annual capital works program to date, with almost 270 projects planned across the city during the next financial year. 

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said a key focus of the budget was maintaining ongoing sustainability alongside the delivery of a high-level of essential community services. 

“Our list of projects extends across the city, with increased investments in community infrastructure, facilities and services that will help renew and reinvigorate Newcastle as we continue to build an inclusive, liveable, and sustainable city,” she explained.

“Infrastructure renewal is a priority to deliver everyday benefits to all Novocastrians.

“At least $26.5 million will be invested in roads, bridges, footpaths and community buildings including $7.5 million for our citywide road resurfacing program. 

“Almost $20 million will be spent delivering new and improved parks, playgrounds, sporting and aquatic facilities, which provide important opportunities for the community to engage in active and healthy lifestyles.   

“This includes $5 million towards the first stage of the landmark all-abilities playground and water park at Foreshore Park and construction of the reimagined playground and amenities upgrade at Hamilton’s much-loved Gregson Park, as well as $7.5 million to improve inland pools and ocean baths across the city, including the continued revitalisation of the Newcastle Ocean Baths and delivery of the Lambton Park Swimming Centre grandstand upgrade in time for the new swim season. 

“These projects are fundamental to improving the way we work and live, as well as ensuring we continue to be an attractive destination for visitors and investment.”

Other 2023-24 Budget highlights include: 

  • $22.5 million towards the expansion of Newcastle Art Gallery
  • $14 million to complete the remediation of the former landfill site at Astra Street in Shortland
  • $13.5 million for environmental sustainability, including $1.5 million towards street tree planting 
  • $8 million towards planning and protecting our coastline, estuaries and wetlands 
  • $6.9 million for urban and city centre revitalisation projects including the next stage of the East End upgrade in the Hunter Street Mall, and Local Centre upgrades at New Lambton 
  • $5m will be invested in cycleways and transport options 
  • $4.9 million on stormwater upgrades to address localised flooding 
  • $4.7 million towards the construction of an organics facility to compost food and garden waste and a materials recovery facility to increase our capabilities for recycling and reuse of waste products 
  • $4.2 million towards the replacement of the Boscawen Street Bridge to reduce the risk of flooding in the Wallsend CBD 
  • $2 million to continue works to beautify and improve access along Bathers Way 

CN CEO Jeremy Bath said prudent financial management would deliver a second consecutive surplus budget without compromising its capacity to maintain services and meet community commitments. 

“Council is not immune to the unprecedented levels of inflationary pressures and high costs of living impacting our community,” he stated.

“However, through prudent financial management, we will improve our budget position to a $6.9 million surplus in 2023–2024.

“Our current and future budget surpluses will provide funding for unforeseen and future projects in our city.”

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