After years of ‘Budget bonanza‘, the pendulum has swung to slimmer pickings for the Northern Beaches in the 2023-24 NSW Budget.

NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey (main image) delivered the first budget of the Minns Government in the NSW Parliament yesterday (Tuesday, 29 September). Funding allocations to infrastructure programs on the Northern Beaches have been cut, with work to halt on the second stage of the Mona Vale Road upgrade after $340m in previously allocated funds was pulled and the project was ‘deferred’.

There are silver linings however, with previously committed education projects retained in the Budget. $5.5m has been allocated for major works at Manly Village Public School, and $26m for refurbishment of Narrabeen North Public School and Narrabeen Sports High School, after the revelations of the shocking state of facilities there.

$49m has also been allocated for the relocation of The Forest High School, which is a crucial part of the Frenchs Forest Place Strategy. That strategy also relied on the Beaches Link Tunnel however, which has been cancelled by the incoming Minns Government as part of an election commitment to kill the project.

Michael Regan

Member for Wakehurst Michael Regan (image above) welcomed the almost $140m funding commitment for the Wakehurst electorate but said more was needed.

“The first budget handed down by the Minns Government sees $49.1m 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,” said Mr Regan.

With the cancellation of the Beaches Link Tunnel and halting of Mona Vale Road West, concern was raised over the future of $88m promised for upgrades to the Wakehurst Parkway, after $75m in promised Commonwealth funding had previously been stripped by the Federal Government.

John Graham

John Graham

Despite yesterday’s Budget paper’s showing only $4.9m allocated this year, NSW Road Minister John Graham reaffirmed the Minns Government’s commitment to $88m in upgrades for the Wakehurst Parkway, in addition to the more than $18m already given to Northern Beaches Council to resolve flooding issues.

“Wakehurst Parkway is a key link for the northern beaches and it’s no secret that it is prone to congestion, flooding, delays and safety issues. This funding commitment will help reduce crashes while increasing capacity and traffic flow,” said Minister Graham.

Michael Regan in the NSW Parliament

Mr Regan claimed the renewed commitment to improving the Wakehurst Parkway as a ‘win’ for his electorate and the Northern Beaches overall.

“The Wakehurst Parkway has been in dire need of upgrades for decades now, while it has the unenviable reputation of being one of the most dangerous roads on the Northern Beaches.

“This money will be vital in both improving safety on the road, and helping to mitigate the impact of flooding on this crucial artery.

“After many years of frustration, the confirmation of this funding is a win for the people of Wakehurst and the Northern Beaches. I’m looking forward to seeing these crucial upgrades delivered,” said Mr Regan.

The specific projects that Minister Graham referenced as proceeding were the same as those announced in March prior to the NSW Election. Those being:

  • Widening Oxford Falls Road to Dreadnought Road and improving intersection safety at both
  • Widening the road to add a second southbound lane from Dreadnought Road to the existing second lane at Trefoil Creek (going up the hill to Frenchs Forest Road)
  • Improving the safety at Elanora Road and Mirrool Street

Manly saw $50m in funding allocations, thanks in part to a pre-election commitment from Labor to restore the Freshwater-class ferries to service.

Infrastructure funding in the Manly electorate includes:

James Griffin

Member for Manly James Griffin (image above) welcomed those Budget allocations to the Manly electorate but said deserving projects had been overlooked.

“More than $6.5m has been allocated towards the upgrade of Manly Wharf 3 to increase capacity and access for commuters and visitors. This was a Coalition Government initiative, which I am pleased to see the current government see through to its completion.

“The upgrade of Manly Wharf 3 complements the introduction of Opal discounts on Manly Fast Ferries from 01 October. I have been pushing for the discounts to help households battling cost of living rises.

“However, I am disappointed the Budget does not include funding for local road or public transport projects especially given the axing of Beaches Link Tunnel.

“Finally, there is one project I will not give up on until I see it included in the Budget Papers. It is not included this year and so I will campaign to ensure it is included next year, and that is the upgrade of the Northern Beaches Secondary College Balgowlah Boys Campus.

“Labor has cut funding as far as the eye can see across the state, but I will continue to advocate for the needs of our wonderful electorate through ongoing strong representations on your behalf,” said Mr Griffin.

Rory Amon speaking in NSW Parliament

Although pleased at $26m allocated for urgently needed repairs to Narrabeen Sports High School and Narrabeen North Public School, Pittwater MP Rory Amon (image above) pulled no punches, accusing the Minns Government of ‘playing postcode politics’.

“This Budget rips almost $430m from essential projects committed to and commenced by the former Liberal Government. It does not include any new investment in Pittwater.

“The Chris Minns-led Labor Government promised to govern for our whole State, but this Budget sees funding allocated by postcode with preference going to electorates held or winnable by Labor.

“We have managed to retain the previously allocated $53.9m for Narrabeen North Primary and Narrabeen Sports High thanks to a strong community campaign. However, more funding is needed to complete all necessary works.

“With our Pittwater community, I will continue to hold the Labor Government to account and campaign for vital funding for local projects,” said Mr Amon.

Matt Cross in the Legislative Assembly of the NSW Parliament

Davidson MP Matt Cross (image above) said the NSW Budget map ‘said everything that needed to be said’ about commitments in Davidson. No allocations were made in the Budget for projects on the Northern Beaches in the Davidson electorate.

Mr Cross, who could not hide his disappointment, said he would continue advocating for improvements, including upgrades for schools and improved pedestrian safety for school children at Forest Way, Belrose.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, NSW Government

Matt Cross - upgrade Davidson High hall

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