Stimulus for the regions

Making NSW a better place to live, work and visit is happening at an accelerated pace throughout the state, thanks to the NSW Government’s economic stimulus funding, a response to the coronavirus pandemic. We’re working across government to fast-track key projects and initiatives in regional areas, create jobs, improve safety and encourage people to visit our beautiful towns and cities. Since March 2020 the Transport Stimulus Delivery team has delivered over 90 initiatives and on average, over 200 jobs have been supported each week.

Here are a few examples of the real impact we’re having at a local level to improve the lives of people and businesses in our regions, which have been hit hard by bushfires, floods and the pandemic.

In the west, work is happening on the Pilliga Widening Project to improve safety and access for heavy vehicles on the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Moree.

Newell hwy 2

Newell Highway completed section

The Newell Highway is the freight backbone of inland NSW and the work will significantly improve the efficient movement of freight across the region. The project includes planning for up to 32km of new road pavement, intersection improvements, widening of road shoulders and provision of five new overtaking lanes. This will improve safety for motorists and reduce future maintenance requirements. The project is providing a welcome injection for the local economy too. It’s created an estimated six new full time positions and work for 12 local contractors and organisations.

Thrilled to be involved in this project is Narrabri-based Brock Johnstone, owner of Johnstone’s Concrete & Landscape Supplies. Brock’s company is supplying pavement materials to be used for the new road.

“This is bulk work for us,” Brock said, “and to be honest, we rely on it. We employ 25 local people from the Narrabri shire, and this helps to keep them in work.”

On the Snowy Mountains Highway, maintenance work on Brown Mountain was sped up so people would have a safer and smoother journey for this year’s snow season.

This project has also supported many local businesses through the use of contractors. Six different companies were involved in completing the work, five of which were based within an hour of the job site.

“We employed contractors from the surrounding areas of Bega, Merimbula and Eden,” said Nemasha Ambagahawatte, Project Engineer, Regional and Outer Metropolitan. “These local companies were grateful to work on the project. It’s a win-win when we’re able to bring forward road safety improvements and at the same time provide employment during uncertain times.”

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Nemasha Ambagahawatte

Project Engineer, Regional and Outer Metropolitan

Outside of road projects, stimulus funding is also accelerating works on our country rail network. In Wee Waa in the North West of the state, heavy rain deposited debris against the piers of the Namoi River railway underbridge.

Namoi River Bridge 1

Namoi River railway underbridge

The bridge is essential and maintenance work made possible with stimulus funding was able to stabilise the banks and protect the bridge piers. This also provided almost a month’s work for eight people.

A second wave of stimulus for regional NSW

At the end of June 2020, Australian Federal and NSW Governments announced a second round of stimulus funding targeting safety on country roads, upgrades to local roads in our regions and reducing congestion in Sydney. Three programs will be accelerated to deliver this investment:

  • Road safety works in regional areas that will supplement the NSW Government’s existing commitment towards the Safer Roads program;
  • The Fixing Local Roads program; and,
  • The Pinch Point program that will deliver road improvements to address congestion in Sydney.

A pipeline of jobs for the future

Our state’s population is going through a period of unprecedented growth and by 2056, NSW is expected to have 12 million residents.

With $55.6 billion worth of infrastructure projects to deliver over the next four years, Transport’s Pipeline Program is connecting our people with new opportunities, while providing a much-needed boost to the NSW economy.

The Pipeline Program was created to support our people working on projects that are nearing completion, and assist them to find their next role within Transport. If people choose to relocate, the Pipeline Program team can also help make the transition to a new role an easy and smooth process.

The program has already identified over 300 roles on different projects in both Sydney and regional areas. Some of these major projects include:
• Western Sydney Airport Motorway
• Parramatta Light Rail – Stage 1
• Sydney Gateway
• WestConnex Stage 3B (Rozelle Interchange).

We caught up with some of our people who have discovered a whole new world of opportunity through involvement in the Pipeline Program.

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Shane McCauley

Surveillance Officer, Infrastructure and Place

I don’t mind being the new kid on the block.

Shane McCauley

Having swapped life in Kiama on the state’s beautiful south coast for the ’big smoke’, Greater Sydney Surveillance Officer, Infrastructure and Place Shane McCauley is settling into his new role with the Sydney Gateway project and said he doesn’t mind at all being the new kid on the block.

Despite his 30 years with Transport, supervising road and bridge construction crews in places like Wollongong and Nowra, Shane says he couldn’t be happier and has welcomed the opportunity for a career and location change.

“Being part of such an enormous project is challenging and exciting. I feel proud to be part of something that will be around for future generations to use,” said Shane.

Making the move was an easy process thanks to the Pipeline team. “I registered and was contacted about another job in a different part of the state which I turned down. They kept looking for opportunities for me and within the month, I had accepted my new role based in Sydney.”

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Thilina Ratnayake

Site Engineer, Infrastructure and Place

The Pipeline Program has been a completely positive experience. I ended up in a job that would not have been possible without it.

Thilina Ratnayake

Gaining his engineering degree in 2018 and joining Transport in April last year, Thilina Ratnayake gained valuable experience as a technical officer during the final stage of the Sydney Light Rail project. As it was drawing to an end, he knew he wanted to stay with Transport and after attending a presentation by the Pipeline Program team, he contacted them about finding a new role.

“I ended up in a job that would not have been possible without it,” Thilina said. “Just before the Christmas shutdown, I got a call asking if I wanted to meet the Delivery Director of the Parramatta Light Rail project.”

During an initial conversation with Thilina, the Pipeline team asked about his work experience and where he wanted to be in the future. When an opportunity came up they supported him through the interview process that resulted in him securing a site engineer position on the Parramatta Light Rail project.

 

Of his new role Thilina said, “I feel a sense of pride knowing my work will make a positive impact on the community – connecting students to Western Sydney University, doctors to Westmead Hospital and connecting foodies like me to local restaurants.”

Parramatta Light Rail travelling on Macquarie Street, Parramatta

Artist’s impression of Parramatta Light Rail travelling on Macquarie Street, Parramatta

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Learn more about Parramatta Light Rail, a dynamic transport link that will transform the city of Parramatta and its surrounding suburbs by making better connections locally and into Sydney’s CBD.

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