“In this budget, we are turbo-charging the regions like never before,” said NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet in Tuesday’s state budget announcement.
And, turbo-charge they did – with Armidale receiving an almost $100 million investment across the board.
A super-school announcement has shocked the community, with Armidale High School and Duval High School set to merge under a brand new $65 million roof.
The two existing schools will be demolished, the new state-of-the-art school will be equipped to cater to 1500 students.
A 1000 seat purpose-built performing arts centre is also part of the deal and will be open for use by the community.
But, not everyone is happy with the multi-million dollar investment.
Some community members expressed concerns the move would leave parents with extra costs.
The funding comes as part of the state government’s $4.2 billion public education infrastructure splurge, announced in Tuesday’s NSW budget.
And, it’s good news for patients – the Armidale Hospital face-lift received a $29.5 million boost to complete the fit-out of the new building.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall welcomed the budget announcement that will improve Armidale’s healthcare capacity.
“Armidale Hospital will get the money it needs to finish the refurbishment of the new building, and with this money locked in, I hope to be officially opening the building early next year,” he said.
Roads desperately in need of repair will also see a funding injection, with $4.42 million for upgrades to Waterfall Way, the New England Highway south of Armidale and road maintenance within the shire.
More than $50,000 has also been allocated to upgrade the Armidale Department of Environment building.
Closer to home, parents and sporting clubs can welcome an extra $100 per child, per family to alleviate the costs of sports registrations.
Small businesses and farmers will see tax cuts of more than $330 million over four years.
The duty on crop and livestock insurance will be abolished for farmers.
And, from January 2018, businesses with less than a $2 million turnover will no longer pay duties on professional indemnity, public liability and work vehicles insurance.
However, New England North West Business Chamber regional manager Joe Townsend said there are issues that weren’t addressed in the NSW Budget.
“In the lead up to the 2017-18 Budget, we survey our 20,000 members on the key issues that impact on their business. Number one, by a clear margin, was a stronger local economy, and the Budget reflects the strong position NSW Government is in,” he said.
“With this in mind, however, the NSW Business Chamber is disappointed that the major disincentive for a business to grow and employ more staff – payroll tax – has not been address in this Budget.
“With energy costs sky rocketing, the NSW Government need to provide relief on other cost pressures, and easing the payroll tax burden would be one way of achieving this.”
The budget also contains a $1.3 billion "regional growth fund" to create jobs and build regional sporting and cultural infrastructure.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said every person across the region is a winner in the NSW Budget.
“From our largest towns to our smallest villages, this budget will fund projects that will build and renew infrastructure, provide new and enhanced services and make life easier for residents across the Northern Tablelands,” he said.