NSW Budget builds a stronger Hunter 


The 2024-25 Budget puts the people of NSW first by investing in better healthcare, education, housing, and roads.  

These measures will strengthen essential services across the Hunter, provide better healthcare, great schools, housing that people can afford and build the infrastructure people need. 

The NSW Government is making more essential workers permanent, giving certainty to Hunter workers and households. 

In addition, we are putting money towards the infrastructure and logistics required to secure and transform the state’s energy market.  

The 2024-25 Budget builds on the investment of the Labor’s Government’s first budget by funding the continuation of vital projects and the start of new ones. 

Hunter specific commitments across major areas includes: 



  1. $70 million statewide to expand emergency department short stay units to improve patient flow to reduce ED (Emergency Department) wait times by nearly 80,000 hours – beginning with Maitland in 2025 
  2. $250 million for a Critical Asset Maintenance Program to address hospital and health facility maintenance backlogs statewide and across the Hunter 
  3. Continuation of the: 
  1. $835 million John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct
  2. $180 million Lower Mid North Coast Health service (Manning and Forster-Tuncurry)
  3. $138 million Cessnock Hospital Redevelopment
  4. $45 million Muswellbrook Hospital Redevelopment Stage 3
  5. $22 million Maitland Integrated Community and Community Mental Health Service



  1. A new primary school and high school in fast-growing Huntlee 
  2. Continuation of the new Medowie High School 
  3. 14 new public preschools as part of the NSW Government’s 100 new public preschools election commitment. These will be located at Booragul Public School, Cessnock Public School, Ellalong Public School, Gillieston Public School, Kersley Public School, Kurri Kurri Public School, Maryland Public School, Moorland Public School, Nulkaba Public School, Shortland Public School, Taree Public School, Tenambit Public School, Teralba Public School and Weston Public School 
  4. Continuation of the Gillieston Public School redevelopment 
  5. Irrawang High School Upgrade 
  6. Hunter River High School Upgrade 
  7. 1,555 education staff made permanent 
  8. $16.3 million to be spent in 2024-25 on fee free apprenticeships and traineeships



  1. $1.4 billion to continue construction of the M1 to Raymond Terrace extension and Hexham Straight widening projects 
  2. $462.9 million to continue construction of the Singleton Bypass – New England Highway Corridor 
  3. $442.7 million to continue planning and early work activities for the Muswellbrook bypass to improve travel times for long-haul freight movements and safety for all road users on the New England Highway (NSW and Australian Government funded) 
  4. $290.0 million additional funding for the Towards Zero Safer Roads Program, bringing the total investment to $2.8 billion. This investment will deliver state-wide targeted and proven initiatives to improve road safety across NSW, including in regional areas 
  5. $275 million for Nelson Bay Road upgrade between Bobs Farm and Williamtown 
  6. $191.4 million to commence main works construction for the New England Highway Singleton Bypass (State and Federally funded) 
  7. 128.6 million to continue construction of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass between Rankin Park and Jesmond 
  8. $74.2 million to continue major construction on the Hexham Straight Upgrade between Newcastle Inner City Bypass and Hexham Bridge (State and Federally Funded) 
  9. $59.4 million to continue planning for the Mandalong Road upgrade 
  10. $52.5 million for the operation of bus, ferry and light rail services in Newcastle 
  11. $35 million for Hillsborough Road, Warners Bay to Charlestown (Stage 1) 
  12. $11.7 million to continue planning and early works activities for the New England Highway Muswellbrook Bypass (State and Federally Funded) 
  13. $10 million for the development of a business case for improving safety and freight productivity on the Golden Highway from Dubbo to Newcastle 
  14. $8.7 million to contribute funding for Council to construct a new two-lane bridge over the Williams River, adjacent to the Brig O’Johnston Bridge, at Clarence Town 
  15. $7.8 million for Speers Point Intersection 
  16. $3.4 million for 134 school crossing supervisors for the region 
  17. $1.1 million for John Renshaw Drive Upgrade (Planning) (State and Federal  
  18. $1.1 million for Minmi Road and Newcastle Link Road, Edgeworth 
  19. $1 million for Thornton Rail Bridge 



  1. $5.1 billion to build 8,400 new social homes - which includes 2,200 replacement homes - and upgrades to 33,500 homes across NSW 
  2. The NSW Government will prioritise at least half of the net 6,200 new homes for those fleeing domestic and family violence 
  3. $1 billion to repair 33,500 existing social homes across NSW 
  4. $253.7 million to bolster the State’s planning system, including to assess more development applications and deliver more State-led rezonings, to boost housing supply  
  5. $527.6 million for crisis accommodation and homelessness support services 



  1. $3 million for the dredging of priority waterways including Swansea Channel 
  2. Funding for dredging the Myall River at Tea Gardens/ Hawks Nest 


Climate Change, Energy and the Environment  

  1. $128.5 million to upgrade roads for drivers and the transportation of components for renewable energy projects across NSW, including along the Golden Highway  
  2. $15.2 million for mine rehabilitation and closure, and to support health and safety  
    for mine workers in NSW 
  3. The purchase of land in the Hunter to protect the sacred Butterfly Cave Aboriginal Place. The rock cave and surrounding bushland is an Aboriginal women’s site that the Government is proud to protect 


Communities and Justice 

  1. $7.7 million for the new Charlestown fire station 
  2. $224.1 million to build a better foster care system, including reforming the Out-of-Home-Care sector 
  3. Continuing to deliver the $4.0 million new Dungog fire station on a new site and the $6.4 million new Cessnock fire station  


Cost of Living 

  1. $435.4 million in 2024-25 for energy rebates and concessions. This is in addition to the Australian Government’s $300 energy bill relief payment 
  2. $188.8 million Bulk-Billing Support Initiative will protect the cost of seeing a GP and reduce the strain on our emergency departments. The initiative will ease financial pressure on GP practices by waiving historical payroll tax liabilities for contractor GPs and provide an ongoing tax rebate to clinics that meet bulk-billing thresholds 
  3. $84.5 million over the next 4 years in water rebates to eligible pensioners, exempt properties such as non-profit charities, and others experiencing financial hardship to maintain access to water and waste-water services for Hunter Water customers 
  4. Continuation of: 
    1. The Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme,  
      providing financial assistance towards travel and accommodation costs when a patient needs to travel long distances for specialised healthcare that is not available locally 
    2. Free parking at all rural and regional public hospitals 


Essential services: 

  1. The NSW Government has launched the You Should Be a Cop in Your Hometown program to allow police to serve in or near their hometown after they graduate from the Goulburn Police Academy 
  2. This complements the paid study program for recruits, already announced 
  3. In addition to the above, the Government has abolished the wages cap to ensure fairer pay negotiations and better pay for our essential workers at a time they need it the most. 


Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley said: 

“This budget puts people first. 

“Essential services have been put on the backburner for too long. This Government is committed to making sure these services exist and are the best they can be. 

“We are investing in the infrastructure, essential services, and roads to strengthen our region and ensure the people in it continue to prosper for decades to come. 

“The 2024-25 Budget makes significant progress on our commitment to build a better NSW.”