NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has handed down his first state Budget with a focus on first home buyers and easing the cost of living while foreign investors and major infrastructure projects lost out.
New South Wales Treasurer Matt Kean has handed down his first Budget with the state’s forecasted deficit more than tripling to $11.3 billion due to spending during the Omicron and Delta outbreaks.
Mr Kean forecast the return to a budget surplus of $601 million in 2024-25 which is the same year the government proposed in last year’s budget and before the Delta and Omicron outbreaks and record floods.
“Since the half-year review, we’ve seen once-in-a-generation floods,” Mr Kean said.
“We know that we’re moving to a different stage of the pandemic and our health system is under enormous pressure… we’ve also seen the impact of inflation on the state’s financial position.
“We forecast that inflation will decrease in the future, but we need to support families now.”
The government is set to invest $7.2 billion over the next financial year in new and existing measures to limit the cost of living pressures and a further $4.5 billion over the next four years to bolster the resilience of the NSW Health system.
Here are some of the winners and losers from the 2022 NSW Budget:
First Home Buyers:
The Budget includes a $2.8 billion investment in measures to support greater opportunities to access and own a home with help for the most vulnerable.
The help includes a two-year trial of a shared equity scheme for up to 6,000 eligible single parents, older singles and front line workers buying their first home.
Another major section of the investment will include the introduction of an option for first home buyers purchasing a home up to $1.5 million to pay an annual property tax instead of the large upfront stamp duty sum.
The government will invest $16.5 billion over the next 10-years to boost women’s participation in the workforce and provide better health opportunities.
Early childhood education and care reforms will also receive investment to help close the women’s workforce participation gap by between 4 and 14 per cent by 2032-33.
The investment is also expected to lead to between 26,000 and 95,000 women entering the workforce or switching from part-time to full-time work by 2032-33.
Mr Kean unveiled a $775 million commitment over the next four years to limit childcare costs and create 47,000 places.
An additional two weeks of paid parental leave has been announced for NSW public sector workers who don’t have a distinction between a primary or secondary carer meaning every parent in the public sector will be entitled to at least 14 weeks’ paid parental leave.
The government will put aside $193 million for the Back to School Subsidy providing every NSW school student with $150 to put towards school supplies.
Nearly 500,000 motorists will be able to receive rebates on their toll bills with the government working to reduce the cost of living pressures.
Mr Kean announced a $520 million investment over two years to deliver the scheme where every quarter eligible non-business and small business customers will receive a 40 per cent cash rebate for every dollar spent on tolls once they have reached a minimum of $375.
The Toll Rebate Scheme will save NSW drivers up to $750 a year.
First Nations Communities:
A whopping $715.8 million will be invested in First Nations policies to help meet NSW’s targets under the national Closing the Gap agreement.
More than $300 million will go towards appropriate housing, land rights and interests providing essential community infrastructure.
Nearly $100 million has been allocated to expand existing Aboriginal Child and Family Centers and to build nine new centers.
Public Sector and Health Workers:
Workers in the public sector will see a pay increase of 3 per cent in each of the next two years with a possible 3.5 per cent next year but they had wanted more with inflation up to 5.1 per cent.
The government had already announced health workers would receive a $3,000 payment for recognition of their frontline work during the pandemic but they have claimed the payment will not go far enough.
Five days of paid fertility treatment leave will also be offered to teachers, nurses and other workers in the NSW public sector.
Land tax for foreign investors is set to double to 4 per cent with the government looking to increase the best revenue source.
Residents in the Northern Beaches:
The government benched some of its mega-projects including the Beaches Link which was a planned tunnel connecting the northern beaches to the Warringah Freeway and the rest of Sydney.
Infrastructure NSW suggested the rising construction costs meant it would be smarter to scale back on the major projects and invest in smaller and less risky infrastructure.
The Beaches Link was expected to cost $6.3 billion over four years completed in 2028.
Residents in Southern Sydney:
The construction of the second stage of the M6 motorway has also been put on ice.
The road would have connected Kogarah to Sydney’s southern suburbs with the change in priority expected to see stage one open towards the end of 2025.
The state government will tighten up gambling laws to bring the tax rates for online and track betting together with both increased to 15 per cent.
The move is expected to rake in an additional $740 million in revenue for the government but will hit the gambling companies.