Mice money among regional NSW budget spend

Tiffanie TurnbullAAP
A mouse plague wreaking havoc across regional NSW has eaten a hole in the state's budget.
Camera IconA mouse plague wreaking havoc across regional NSW has eaten a hole in the state's budget. Credit: AP

A mouse plague wreaking havoc across regional NSW has eaten a hole in the state's budget, which includes more than $1 billion to help regional communities recover from successive disasters.

Some $140 million has been set aside in the 2021/22 budget for the state's response to the infestation, with another $10 million earmarked for the following financial year.

The majority of funds will go toward rebates for primary producers, small businesses, households and zinc phosphide manufacturers.

There is also money to help the state mop up other recent disasters.

"Off the back of devastating drought, bushfires and floods, there has never been a more crucial time to support regional NSW," Deputy Premier John Barilaro said in a statement on Tuesday.

"I say to people across NSW, you are not alone in this.

"We will continue to deliver the support needed to enable disaster-affected areas to keep moving forward in their recovery."

More than $500,000 has been set aside, in partnership with the Commonwealth, to help communities inundated by record flooding earlier this year.

That includes disaster recovery grants of up to $75,000 for primary producers and up to $50,000 for small businesses.

The state's recovery from the black summer bushfires has also received a budget boost.

Just under $260 million has been allocated for the expansion of the Public Safety Network, which will deliver full-state radio coverage for emergency services in times of disaster, fulfilling a recommendation from the NSW Bushfire Inquiry.

An extra $268 million, including a contribution from the Commonwealth, will help the state respond to the inquiry's other recommendations.

The NSW government has allotted $64 million to help regional communities prepare for the next drought by improving climate data and helping farmers use agricultural technology.

The government is also spending big on regional infrastructure, roads, education and health.

Some $50 million has been committed to improve mobile coverage across regional NSW, and another $100 million to upgrade infrastructure to deliver metro-level internet services to the regions.

Regional roads and transport will receive $9 billion in funding in 2021/22, which includes a $45 million boost for the planning works for the state's fast rail program.

An extra billion dollars will be spent building or upgrading nine regional or rural schools, while almost a third of the state's health infrastructure spend in the next financial year will go to regional areas, with just over $900 million allocated four new and 24 upgrade hospitals.

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