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$50 million for The Forest High School and Wakehurst Parkway works continue – but more must be done to tackle congestion on the Northern Beaches

While there are some wins for the people of Wakehurst and the Northern Beaches in the Minns
Government’s first budget, it’s crucial that funding for public transport, roads and health services increases in
the years to come.

The first budget handed down by the Minns Government sees $49.1 million allocated to the relocation and
construction of The Forest High School. This funding will include six new sport and games courts and other
sporting facilities. While this funding is a welcome investment, I’ll continue to push the government to
ensure other schools in Wakehurst that need upgrades, such as Cromer High School, receive future funding.
Further, we need the new courts at the school to be enclosed for Basketball and Netball. We cannot lose that
opportunity with a new school about to be built.

When it comes to local transport, the government has reaffirmed their commitment to a total spend of over
$100 million for the Wakehurst Parkway. The iconic Freshwater class ferries will also get over $70 million to
ensure they are back in the water soon. And we should see our first electric buses on the Beaches shortly.
However with the Minns Government officially cancelling the Northern Beaches Tunnel project, the
government must urgently invest in transport solutions to ease congestion on the Northern Beaches. In
particular, I’ll be pushing for future funding to upgrade the A8 corridor from Mona Vale to Seaforth – with a
focus on the ‘Officeworks intersection’ in Dee Why. That said, the government has confirmed it will begin the
process of reviewing congestion and ways to address that on the Beaches. The A8 will be part of that review.
While there is a commitment to fund over 2,300 new nurses and midwives throughout NSW, the Northern
Beaches is unlikely to benefit due to the fact that Northern Beaches Hospital is privately operated. We will be
writing to the owners of the Northern Beaches Hospital to request they match the new agreed patient nurse
ratios of the public hospitals.

At a statewide level, the Minns Government is forecasting a welcome return to surplus. There are also good
initiatives to accelerate the roll out of renewable energy and act on cost of living through capping toll costs
and targeted energy and childcare relief. These cost of living measures will benefit many in Wakehurst.
However there are mixed signals when it comes to electrifying transport NSW. The $140 million investment
in emissions free buses is welcome, as is the $1.8 billion investment in renewable energy infrastructure, and
the $263 million allocated to EV charging infrastructure. However there are cuts to EV subsidies and a move
to end the EV stamp duty rebate. The move to cut the stamp duty rebate for EVs should be reversed as we
need policies to encourage the uptake of EVs in NSW, not make them more expensive.

Finally while there is a welcome commitment to fund the Great Koala National Park, the budget papers
reveal just $1.45 million will be invested this financial year to preserve koala habitat. After visiting the area
last month, it’s clear more must be done to preserve threatened koala habitat before it is cleared.

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