The release of the federal government’s report on it’s infrastructure pipeline review has yielded mixed outcomes for projects in the Hunter. 

In good news for commuters, the M1 Pacific Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace, The Newcastle Inner City Bypass, and upgrades to Mandalong Road will all go ahead as planned. 

Funding has been reserved for the planning of the Muswellbrook Bypass, however no additional commitment has been made for the construction phase of the project. 

Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell, says he believes the government is delaying the project, and it won’t be delivered until after the Singleton Bypass is completed. 

“As we found out in budget estimates just a few weeks ago, NSW Transport will not proceed with the project until they receive a deed from the Federal Government with the construction money,” he said. 

Meanwhile, work on the first phase of the government’s proposed high speed rail network is set to grind to a halt, after today’s report revealed it will no longer be funding upgrades to tracks and platforms at Tuggerah and Wyong. 

The federal and state governments committed a combined $1.5 billion last year to the improvements, as part of plans to cut 35 minutes off the journey from Newcastle to Sydney.

Although the report indicates $500 million has been allocated to “High Speed Rail Priorities”, it also reveals the Central Coast upgrade works will no longer be funded by the Commonwealth. 

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon says the city will still have “a very lead role in the development of this exciting new chapter in Australian rail history.” 

“We will be shaping what high speed rail looks like in Australia with the priority that’s been given for the Newcastle to Sydney leg,” she said. 

In addition, Dave Layzell says while he’s pleased the government has allocated more funding for the replacement of the Brig O’Johnston Bridge at Clarence Town, it’s not enough to fully fund the project. 

$781,000 in additional funding has been handed down by the Commonwealth for the replacement works. 

However, Dave Layzell, says it’s only 20% of what’s needed to get the job done. 

The release of today’s report comes after Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King earlier this week announced changes to the way the government would fund projects, returning to a preference of 50:50 funding with the states and territories for future investments. 

Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes, says the government should be able to provide more clarity about the projects it is funding, now it’s scope has been reduced. 

“A significant reduction in the scope of projects should hopefully see those on the list move through without delay. Ideally, we’ll also receive some clarity from the state government to confirm all these projects are in frame, given this clarity at a federal level,” said Mr Hawes.