The 2024-25 NSW Budget has been announced, with $1.66 billion in funding allocated to the arts, tourism and night-time economy.

Destination NSW received $324.5 million in funding to support its focus on experience tourism, including investment in visitor experience development, marketing and events to drive visitation to the state.

The 2024-25 NSW Budget also includes $73 million to support grassroots and community arts organisations, $26.9 million to support the development of vibrant, safe and diverse night-time precincts across the state and $18.5 million for Sound NSW to deliver programs that drive audience and international market development, strengthen the live music industry and champion NSW artists.

NSW cultural institutions will be supported with an investment of $585.6 million, including $8.8 million in new funding for Art Gallery of NSW to ensure it remains free to enter; and $10.5 million capital investment in 2024-25 for the completed delivery of Sydney’s first Centre for Queer History and Culture, Qtopia.

Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond said: “From the success of Vivid Sydney and Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour to the Parkes Elvis Festival, we can’t underestimate the immense power of major art, music and sporting events to entice visitors from across Australia and overseas.”

“By investing in these sectors, the State Government is not only ensuring NSW remains a vibrant and lively place to visit, but is also supporting tourism operators, the jobs they provide and helping boost the NSW economy.”

Accommodation Australia NSW General Manager Stacey McBride said: “A big thank you to the NSW Government for recognising the importance of the tourism economy and listening to the needs of the industry.

“We look forward to working with them to further drive tourism’s value to our sector and the broader economy of NSW.”

Investments to turbocharge Western Sydney visitor economy

The 2024-25 NSW Budget makes investments in Western Sydney, including $79 million for improvements to the Campbelltown Arts Centre; $40 million to deliver the Riverside Theatres Redevelopment in Parramatta; and $2.5 million to reopen Penrith Beach for another summer and improve amenities and the visitor experience.

Transport infrastructure investments include $2.1 billion for the delivery of Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2, $13.4 billion for the continuation of Sydney Metro West and $5.5 billion for the ongoing delivery of the Western Sydney Airport Metro.

More than $1 billion will also be used for roads connecting people and communities with the new International Airport and Bradfield City Centre.

Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue CEO Adam Leto said: “The green light for Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 will turbocharge investment in what is already one of the most dynamic areas in Sydney.

“We’re also glad the government has secured the future of the hugely successful Penrith beach for another summer, and we hope this is the start of a new wave to make Pondi permanent.”

Budget supports infrastructure in regional NSW

The 2024-25 NSW Budget provides investment in visitor infrastructure across regional NSW, including an additional $50 million for the Regional Development Trust, bringing this pipeline of investment to $400 million.

Other highlights include $196.3 million in the Snowy Mountains region for infrastructure to support housing and grow year-round visitation, $15 million to improve rural and remote airstrips, and $2.3 million for the Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshore Precinct Project.

In addition to $6.98 million to improve infrastructure in National Parks, 2024-25 funding includes $32.5 million for the Gardens of Stone and Great Southern Walk, $10.6 million for Dorrigo Great Walk and $2.9 million for Great Koala National Park.

Regional visitor destinations will also receive $20 million to co-fund electric vehicle (EV) destination chargers.