In 2011, the NSW Government established Restart NSW to fund new infrastructure with the proceeds from the sale and lease of government assets. From 2011 to 2017, the NSW Government allocated $1.7 billion from the fund for infrastructure in regional areas, with an additional commitment of $1.3 billion to be allocated by 2021. The NSW Government allocates these funds through regional assistance programs such as Resources for Regions and Fixing Country Roads. NSW councils are the primary recipients of funding provided under these programs.
The NSW Government announced the Resources for Regions program in 2012 with the aim of addressing infrastructure constraints in mining affected communities. Infrastructure NSW administers the program, with support from the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
The NSW Government announced the Fixing Country Roads program in 2014 with the aim of building more efficient road freight networks. Transport for NSW and Infrastructure NSW jointly administer this program, which funds local councils to deliver projects that help connect local and regional roads to state highways and freight hubs.
This audit assessed whether these two programs (Resources for Regions and Fixing Country Roads) were being effectively managed and achieved their objectives. In making this assessment, we answered the following questions:
- How well are the relevant agencies managing the assessment and recommendation process?
- How do the relevant agencies ensure that funded projects are being delivered?
- Do the funded projects meet program and project objectives?
The audit focussed on four rounds of Resources for Regions funding between 2013–14 to 2015–16, as well as the first two rounds of Fixing Country Roads funding in 2014–15 and 2015–16.