NSW Budget: “Time to Look Ahead” - Hope 103.2

NSW Budget: “Time to Look Ahead”

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean hands down his first budget, with first-home buyers, health and education in mind (and a $25 million flag).

By Michael CrooksTuesday 21 Jun 2022NewsReading Time: 4 minutes

The NSW Budget is here – and in the spotlight are education, home ownership and health.

In what is NSW Treasurer Matt Kean’s first financial road-map for the state, the 2022-23 budget is pouring billions into NSW to aid the recovery from the pandemic and the floods.

“We know the past two years have been hard for the people of NSW and the Omicron wave brought new, unexpected challenges,” Mr Kean said.

“It’s now time to look ahead. The budget will lay out our plans for the next 12 months and beyond to support NSW families and build a better future.”

Education

In a bold move, the NSW government is providing $5.8 billion to introduce another year of education over 10 years.

The NSW government is providing $5.8 billion to introduce another year of education over 10 years.

The joint plan with Victoria will see four-year-old children start a five-day week of “pre-kindergarten”.

“In the next 10 years, every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said in a joint statement.

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“A year dedicated to growing and learning, new friends and new experiences. Giving them the skills they need for school, but just as importantly, the skills they need for life.”

Parents

Parents who need to send their preschoolers to long daycare will receive a subsidy of up to $2000 per child.

Parents with older kids will also get a $150 “back-to-school” payment for every child in school, to help pay for school materials.

Health

The NSW government is giving $4.5 billion to hospitals and health services to recruit more than 10,000 nurses, doctors and other medical staff.

And it will also provide a further $1.76 billion for more ambulance stations and paramedics.

Palliative care is also on the Perrottet government’s radar, with $740 million set aside to provide more medical staff and more spaces in hospitals.

Stamp duty

In a major reform, the budget will give first-home buyers the choice to either pay stamp duty or an annual land tax.

The budget will give first-home buyers the choice to either pay stamp duty or an annual land tax.

This gives those first-home buyers the option of avoiding paying the exorbitant cost of stamp duty (around $70,000 for a median-priced house in Sydney).

The land tax will be $400 a year, plus 0.3 per cent of the land value of the property.

Circular Quay overhaul

There are no plans to pull down the much-maligned Cahill Expressway just yet, but the budget includes a $216 million redevelopment strategy for Circular Quay.

The plan involves new ferry wharves, a green space and a pedestrian “high line” on the Cahill Expressway (modelled on a similar walkway in New York).

Transport

Heavy road-toll users will be handed around $520 million over two years. It will be capped at $750 per user for those who fork out more than $1400 annually on tolls.

And $600 million is pledged to the second stage of Parramatta’s light rail. The project will connect Camellia to Sydney Olympic Park.

Small business women

The NSW government is also providing a boost for women in small business.

Treasurer Kean said more than 95 per cent of businesses in NSW were small businesses, but most were run by men.

“Many people dream of owning their own business, however we know that cultural and structural barriers like access to professional networks and capital can hold women back from taking the leap,” Mr Kean said.

“The NSW Budget is focused on giving women more opportunities for their future.”

“The NSW Budget is focused on giving women more opportunities for their future,” – NSW Treasurer Matt Kean

The 2022-23 NSW Budget will invest in these programs:

  • $3.5 million to provide fee-free TAFE NSW Women in Business courses.
  • $2 million in grants to industry associations and chambers of commerce to run professional networking programs for women in small business.
  • $5.0 million to expand the Business Connect program to provide dedicated services to women-led small business.
  • $4.5 million for the Service NSW for Business program to provide targeted support for women-led small businesses. (For more information, visit here.)

Aboriginal flag

The decision to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge has been widely celebrated, but the figure to install it has raised some eyebrows.

The decision to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge has been widely celebrated, but the figure to install it has raised some eyebrows.

In a curious detail released to the media before the budget’s release, $25 million was set aside to install the flag, with Premier Perrottet admitting he didn’t why know the cost was so high. (He also jokingly offered to go to Bunnings and install it himself.)

But a bridge flagpole is 20 metres high (that’s a a six-storey building), and must be installed to withstand all weather conditions.

“Installing the Aboriginal flag permanently on the Sydney Harbour Bridge… is a continuation of the healing process as part of the broader move towards reconciliation,” Mr Perrottet said.

Ongoing recovery

Mr Kean said the NSW Government had also already committed over $2 billion towards the 2022 flood recovery.

“We also committed more than $46 billion towards health, economic and social support measures since the pandemic began, including our $2.8 billion Economic Recovery Strategy,” Mr Kean said.

“Our $110.4 billion infrastructure program has helped drive our recovery and kept people in jobs and we are committed to supporting business and the community as we deliver for the people of NSW.”