The five kilometre $135 million upgrade of Richmond Road in Sydney’s north-west has been opened to traffic four years ahead of time and on budget. Richmond Road has been widened from two lanes to a four-lane divided road with a central median and provision for six lanes if required in the future. NSW Premier Mike Baird recently visited the area to officially open the final stage of the upgrade which has doubled capacity and improved safety on the key arterial road. We wanted to deliver this road as quickly as possible for the local community, which is why it was one of the first projects to be fast-tracked under our Housing Acceleration Fund. Richmond Road was a vital connector between new employment and housing lands at Marsden Park with the M7. Richmond Road used to be a single lane in each direction so this upgrade was absolutely essential to support Sydney’s newest suburbs where more than 70,000 new homes will be built in Schofields, Riverstone and Marsden Park. The $340 million Schofields Road upgrade is also under construction and due for completion in mid-2018 – supporting the development of about 10,000 local jobs. In the latest sign of the strength of the NSW economy, annual spending on construction has passed $50 billion for the first time. The ABS data showed construction spending, which includes residential, non-residential and engineering work in NSW had risen by 12 per cent over the year. The NSW economy is powering ahead and much of this strength is due to the State Government’s unprecedented spending on infrastructure, totalling more than $73 billion over the next four years.

The State Government’s infrastructure spend is also encouraging private investment and this unrivalled activity is creating more jobs and spurring more confidence in our economy. Building construction (including residential) hit an all-time high, with $32.9 billion of construction in the last year. Importantly regional NSW is outperforming the other states when it comes to jobs growth, adding almost 60 per cent of the total number of regional jobs nationwide over the last 12 months, official ABS data shows. 44,100 jobs were added outside of Sydney in the 12 months to August, accounting for two-thirds of the statewide increase. The number of jobs in regional NSW rose by 3.6 per cent over the past year, which is an outstanding rate. Regional highlights include the Greater Hunter, with 13,400 jobs added in the 12 months to August (an increase of 4.6 per cent), Richmond-Tweed, with 7,500 jobs added (an increase of 7.4 per cent), and the Central West, with 7,200 jobs added (an increase of 7.4 per cent). Our latest $12 million Boost program is building a new state-wide innovation network that will help business owners bring their ideas to life and create the jobs of today and tomorrow.

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