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2020-2021 NSW Budget: Roads, hospital and water projects to be funded in one of Moree's biggest budget wins ever

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Moree mayor Katrina Humphries pictured celebrating last year, when the state government announced its commitment to redevelop Moree Hospital.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Moree mayor Katrina Humphries pictured celebrating last year, when the state government announced its commitment to redevelop Moree Hospital.

Roads, rail and water projects throughout the Moree Plains Shire will be funded as part of the 2020-2021 NSW Budget, while the hospital redevelopment will be fast-tracked in what is believed to be the shire's biggest budget windfall to date.

Moree mayor Katrina Humphries was thrilled with the shire's windfall in what she said was a "good budget" and possibly Moree's best to date.

"It's a wonderful share of money for the Moree Plains, and with our Special Activation Precinct funding as well, this is probably the biggest budget spend in Moree's history," she said.

"I believe Moree Plains is at a turning point; we've come through the drought and we hung in there and now we're being duly rewarded."

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One of the key projects announced in Tuesday's budget for Moree is $2 million to fast-track and begin the $80 million redevelopment of Moree Hospital.

"I'm delighted with the progress being made with the hospital and I know the community will be delighted as well," Cr Humphries said.

"It's a big vote of confidence for Moree."

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said with this money in the bank Hunter New England Health (HNEH) could continue planning and start to deliver the Moree Hospital redevelopment project.

"Consultation on the Moree Hospital's Clinical Service Plan is already well progressed thanks to funds made available in last year's Budget," he said.

"During December, discussions on this plan will take place with hospital staff, local GPs, Moree Plains Shire Council and community groups, ensuring all stakeholders are given a say on the hospital's final design.

"It's anticipated in the first half of 2021 the draft Clinical Services Plan will be presented to the Minister for Health Brad Hazzard for assessment and approval and the site Master Plan will be complete.

"With this framework in place in time for the 2021-2022 Budget, we will be in a position to see cold hard cash put forward for the construction of the largest health infrastructure project this region has undertaken."

Another key win for Moree is $47.1 million for the continued construction of the Newell Highway upgrade between Mungle Back Creek and Boggabilla, which is a major chunk of the government's record $102.84 million to upgrade roads across the Northern Tablelands.

Mr Marshall said the additional $47.1 million for the upgrade between Mungle Back Creek and Boggabilla will allow for new road pavement with 3.5 metre wide lanes in each direction, wider road shoulders and two new overtaking lanes.

Also in the budget was $22.4 million on general Newell Highway maintenance, including $2 million for planning for heavy duty pavement at north Moree and the significant flood-proofing.

"Already we can see how beneficial projects like the Newell Highway upgrade are in boosting economies in the west, with 582 jobs already provided since it started, with a focus on Aboriginal participation," Mr Marshall said.

"The Newell Highway will play an important role in connecting primary producers with the nation building Inland Rail and the Moree Special Activation Precinct.

"As planning and construction of both these projects ramps up in 2021 we must ensure the Newell is in a condition which facilitates the smooth flow of heavy vehicle freight and maximises the full benefit these projects will bring."

The full $7.1 million to raise and upgrade the Gwydir Highway at the Washpool, near Moree, has also been made available to Moree Plains Shire Council.

"I'm delighted to get that top-up funding for the Washpool on the Gwydir Highway," Cr Humphries said.

"It's something we'd worked very hard on for eight years. It will be wonderful in future floods that Moree and Pallamallawa won't be cut off from each other.

"It's all about productivity and accessibility."

Also in the budget is an extra $3.2 million to seal Carrigan Road between Mungindi and Boomi.

"It's about all good roads leading to Moree," Cr Humphries said.

Moree Plains Shire Council will also share in $29.4 million for road maintenance.

Another key budget commitment for Moree is $3.4 million for the Moree Intermodal north south rail link, which is a major part of Moree's Inland Rail preparation.

Council's water supply projects have also been funded in the budget, with $4.13 million to construct the Ashley water supply scheme and $3.1 million to expand the Moree water supply.

Finally, Moree, Inverell and Armidale will share in $3.61 million for new and upgraded social housing.

Overall, the Northern Tablelands will receive a record $315.7 million over the next seven months, surpassing last year's record spend of $304.3 million in the electorate.

Mr Marshall said the delivery of Tuesday's COVID-19 budget built on the millions of dollars already injected by the state government into local communities, to fast-track road works, improve health services and upgrade public facilities.

"This is record-breaking funding - never before has the Northern Tablelands experienced a funding package like this," he said.

"While this budget reflects the tough economic times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, bushfires and drought, the state government has still provided the money we need to better our hospitals, invest in schools and continue to aid our small economies to recover.

"This is all due to our proactive local councils and their communities working together and being persistent in lobbying government for their fair share for these important projects that will enhance our region.

"Not only that, but our local councils have proven over the last 12 months they are capable of standing up and successfully delivering worthwhile tax-payer funded projects which will create new business opportunities and encourage their communities to thrive.

"Full credit goes to the community, they have earned this result today."