Pacific Hwy upgrade to be finished in six years

A RECORD regional infrastructure spend in this year's NSW Budget will see  the completion of the Pacific Hwy within the next six years, hospital expansions, new police stations and bring relief for pensioners and first home buyers on the North Coast.

NSW Treasurer Andrew Constances' first State Budget today delivered some of the most promising commitments for the region in more than a decade.

Grafton's long-awaited second bridge is now fully funded, with work to begin immediately on the $205million Clarence River crossing.

Extra car parks will be built at both the Lismore and Coffs Harbour Hospitals and construction will begin at a new hospital at Byron Bay as part of a record health commitment aimed at easing hospital cuts at a federal level.

A Rail Trail along the old Casino to Murwillumbah rail line is expected to be funded from a new $110millionRegional Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Sand pumping and dredging of the Tweed River will continue as part of a $10million commitment to improve water and sewage services around Coffs Harbour and the Northern Rivers, over the next four years.

While an early than expected Pacific Hwy injection from Canberra and unexpected health and education cuts, is expected to create a deficit of $283million, forward estimates project a surplus of $4.5billion in coming years.

There was no mention of the sale of the state's poles and wires but Mr Constance went to great lengths to point out how NSW had benefited from other major assets like the Newcastle Port which had helped ensure the budget was "powerfully positioned".

"The money to rebuild NSW must come from somewhere - our best option is to recycle capital from our existing infrastructure," Mr Constance said

"All actions of this government through our budget must enhance and protect our Triple-A credit rating. It's what we have been doing in recent years and what we will continue to do."

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