$100 swimming lesson vouchers and more money for community projects in state budget

A $100 voucher for swimming lessons for children aged three to six was announced in the state budget. Picture: supplied
A $100 voucher for swimming lessons for children aged three to six was announced in the state budget. Picture: supplied

Preschool children will be eligible for a $100 voucher for swimming lessons following today's state budget.

In another new initiative, more funds have been allocated for local community infrastructure improvements under the Community Building Partnerships program.

The budget also contains funds to advance a range of previously announced road, hospital and other infrastructure projects in St George and Sutherland Shire.

Funding for stage 1 of the F6 extension was the biggest ticket item for the area, but there was no allocation for work on any future stage.

The $100 voucher for swimming lessons for children aged three to six, which is similar to the Active Kids program, was one of the few budget measures that wasn't announced in advance. Details will be announced in coming days.

Treasurer Dominic Perrotter said, "We want parents to go out there and lap it up".

As announced in the budget lead-up, the government has extended the free preschool program until the end of 2022.

The government is increasing the amount made available to each electorate in the Community Building Partnerships program from $300,000 to $400,000 for the next two years.

The program funds a range of projects for community and sports groups, P&Cs, churches, men's Sheds and other groups.

Projects can range from a playground or hall upgrade to refurbished change rooms, a kitchen overhaul, disabled access or lighting for night training.

Incorporated, not-for-profit community organisations and councils are eligible for grants, with the average amount awarded about $20,000.

Major infrastructure spending in St George and Sutherland Shire includes:

HEALTH

St George Hospital - Ambulatory care, day surgery, sub-acute inpatient building. Total cost $385 million, $97.8 million allocated this year, to be complered in 2025.

Sutherland Hospital - Operating theatre complex. Total cost $81.5M, $16.6M to be spent this year, to be completed in 2024.

Sutherland Hospital - MRI. Total cost $7M total, $6.6M allocated for this year, to be operating in 2022.

ROADS

M6 (F6) Extension Stage 1 - $2.7 billion to be spent over the next four years, with $541 million in 2021-22.

King Georges Road widening from Stoney Creek Road to Connells Point Road. The section will be widened to three lanes in each direction. The joint federal-state governments project will receive $77.7 million over the next four years, incluidng $17 million in 2021-22.

Heathcote Road: $15M has been provided to start work on upgrading the Woronora River Bridge and $5M to plan duplication of the road from Princes Highway to Voyager Point. A further $17M has been provided to duplicate the section between Infantry Parade, Hammondville and The Avenue, Voyager Point.

WestConnex: $1.2 billion is being spent this year, and $1.9 billion over four years, to delivere the final stages, including the M4-M5 tunnels and Rozelle interchange by 2023.

Sydnrey Gateway: The new road link, which will connect WestConnex to Sydney Airport and go close to Port Botany, will cost $3.1 billion, with $541M to be spent this year.

Pinch Points: Gateway to the South work will continue as part of state-wide pinch point projects. No specific budget allocation figure for the area was included.

TRAINS

More Trains More Services: Increased rail services, including more frequent and additional services on the Illawarra, Airport and South Coast line. A total of $3.1 billion will be spent over four years, including $1.1 billion in 2021-22.

Commuter car parks: Funding has been provided for up to 200 spaces at both Beverly Hills and Jannali stations, and 150 spaces at Riverwood.

SCHOOLS

Funding has been provided for previously announced projects at Cronulla High School, Engadine High School and Jannali East Public School.

FERRY WHARVES

A sum of $6.8M has been allocated for a start on reinstating ferry wharves at La Perouse and Kurnell in Kamay Botany Bay National Park. a total of $24.3 million has been budgeted over the next three years.

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