After selling its remaining stake in WestConnex for $11.1 billion, the New South Wales Government will put profits from the road project into a new fund aimed at revitalising Western Sydney.
The state government has today announced the $5 billion WestInvest Fund for building new and improved facilities and local infrastructure to help communities hit hard by COVID-19.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new WestInvest Fund would focus on projects that make a real difference to quality of life, help create jobs in the process, and change the face of Western Sydney for the better.
“The future of Western Sydney is bright and this announcement is a major first step along the road to recovery after a challenging year," the Premier said.
"This is about helping to rejuvenate local communities with improved parks, better open spaces, giving town centres a boost and providing opportunities to grow."
The government will put $2 billion from the fund towards high priority projects to be developed in consultation with local communities, while $3 billion will be for future projects in six areas:
- Parks, urban spaces and green space;
- Enhancing community infrastructure such as local sporting grounds;
- Modernising local schools;
- Creating and enhancing arts and cultural facilities;
- Revitalising high-streets; and
- Clearing local traffic.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the state had received a total of $20.4 billion from the WestConnex project, following an investment of $16.8 billion, giving "headroom" for the WestInvest Fund to straight back to the people of Western Sydney.
"We know that it has been a very difficult time for Western Sydney, particularly over the last three months. Today, there are five billion reasons as to why things are going to get a whole lot better," the Treasurer said.
"This isn't just an investment in places. Above all it is an investment in our people. We want Western Sydney to be the very best."
Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the funding injection would be a game-changer and a catalyst for growth.
"We've been asking people right across Western Sydney to go and get a shot in the arm to help our communities recover from COVID, to reopen our homes, our businesses, reopen our communities to the world," Minister Ayres said.
"Today the New South Wales Government is delivering Western Sydney a $5 billion shot in the arm. This is exactly what Western Sydney needs as it bounces back from the impacts of COVID.
"There’s no doubt that Western Sydney’s been at the forefront of our fight against this insidious virus. It’s impacted our communities more than any other community."
NSW reported 935 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today, as well as four deaths from the virus.
It was also announced the regional local government area (LGA) of Cowra would be going into a lockdown effective from 5pm today.
"Anyone who was in Cowra from the 13th of September, regardless of where they are, must adhere to the stay-at-home requirements," Chief Health Minister Dr Kerry Chant said.
"There was a nine-year-old boy who attended school in Cowra and there were a number of associated community exposures."
Updated at 12:33pm AEST on 20 September 2021
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