Shadow Minister for the Hunter Kate Washington though slammed the government for selling off Hunter assets and said the budget was an “insult” to the region.
The capital works include already announced new schools and hospital upgrades, but announced on Tuesday was a $720 million upgrade for the Prince of Wales Randwick hospital in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The Budget put forward $236.2 million to deliver an Integrated Digital Patient Records project.
‘Nurses and teachers’ budget delivers investment to regions “largest in modern history”: A $1.3 billion regional fund to turbocharge the regions leads a large infrastructure spend on roads, water, schools and hospitals in the NSW budget.
Mr Perrottet also announced that from January next year parents will be eligible for a $100 “active kids rebate” per child per year to cover registration and membership fees for sport and swimming lessons.
“We are the envy of the Western world”, Mr Perrottet told the budget lock-up media briefing.
In addition, SMEs and startups will receive tax cuts, which is expected to save them AU$300 million over the next four years, and sit alongside initiatives such as Easy to do Business, which reduces the amount of time it takes to complete the necessary paperwork to start a business.
Duties on crop and livestock insurance will also be abolished.
The 2017-18 New South Wales State Budget promises to be a milestone for Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who has delivered significant financial allocations to infrastructure, but also to essential services.
The 2016-17 surplus is $856.9 million higher than forecast in last year’s budget, thanks largely to stamp duty revenues from the part-privatisation of electricity companies Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.
Mr Perrottet insisted budget was exercising spending discipline even though expenses rose 5.3 per cent this year and will rise 5 per cent next year.
The NSW government also hinted at changes to the the way IT tendering may be conducted, with one of several measures to manage expenditure growth expecting to see $169.7 million in savings on procurement through “enhanced contract and tendering” of facilities management, ICT end-user devices and fleet management.
GST revenue has been revised down by $1.4 billion to 2019/20, with NSW’s share reaching a historic low.
Under the present system NSW’s share of GST is set to fall to 25.5 per cent – or by $13.1 billion – by 2020-21. “I say to the people of NSW, the best is yet to come”.
Elsewhere, the budget includes the previously announced housing affordability package targeting first home buyers.
They say that net debt, now below zero at -$7.8 billion, is set to rise to $18.6 billion by 2021, as the government borrows to fund its infrastructure program.
Instead, it offers a planning red tape-cutting blitz to boost supply and “a fair go for first home buyers” in the form of stamp duty exemptions from July 1 for new and existing properties up to $650,000, with discounts up to $800,000.
To help fund the package, the stamp duty surcharge for foreign investors will be doubled to 8 per cent and the land tax surcharge lifted from 0.75 per cent to 2 per cent.
Mr Perrottet could not resist a dig at Labor during his budget speech, boasting that the Liberal-Coalition government would spend more on health in seven years than the previous administration had in 16 years.
“That’s the equivalent to building 124 Harbour Bridges – a once in a generation investment that will transform our state forever”, the Treasurer said.