The state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, says the Budget brought down by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet delivers on commitments taken to the electorate earlier this year, despite weaker than expected stamp duty and GST receipts.
An operating surplus of $802 million is projected for the current financial year, down significantly from earlier expectations, with surpluses expected to average $1.7 billion out to 2023.
“This is, yet again, a solid financial blueprint from the Berejiklian Government,” said NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Cartwright.
“For the fourth year in a row net debt is in negative territory despite record infrastructure spending,” Mr Cartwright said.
“It’s important to note how far we have come in building such a solid position, and despite some economic headwinds, NSW continues to enjoy the strongest performing labour market in the nation, and by some margin.
“Importantly, this Budget turns election commitments made in March into reality – repaying the faith that the electorate put in the Premier and her team when they went to the polls.
“While the Budget forecasts slower growth over the next year, $93 billion in infrastructure spending will help to take up some of the slack in parts of the economy that are facing headwinds.
“Changing fiscal conditions present a timely opportunity to examine the sustainability of state finances.
“More than any other state, NSW relies on revenue from harmful taxes such as stamp duty, which comes with $800,000 in economic costs for every million dollars of revenue collected.
“It is good to see the Treasurer has taken the lead by launching a review of Federal financial relations from a NSW viewpoint – something that has long been called for by the NSW Business Chamber.
“The drought is a clear focus in this Budget and, as the NSW Business Chamber’s Drought Survey revealed, the impacts of this natural disaster are being felt in all communities as supply chain payments and discretionary spending have been dramatically reduced.
“As well as tangible drought assistance, regional NSW will receive more than $1 billion to fix roads and bridges - important infrastructure commitments that benefit the community and can help to save lives.
“The Government continues to build on its commitment to education and training, with a record $21 billion for NSW schools, early education, TAFE and vocational education and training.
“This includes a commitment to provide 100,000 fee-free VET courses, funding to expand the highly successful Productivity Bootcamp youth training model to two new locations, and a much needed new TAFE campus in Western Sydney focussing on construction skills.
“All of these initiatives are in line with its commitment of creating 250,000 new jobs over the next four years.
“Despite no major announcements beyond the Government’s stated election commitments, investment in public transport and road projects remains at unprecedented levels. It is now important that the Government ensure the effective and efficient delivery of this infrastructure across the entire state.
“With $6.4 billion committed to accelerate the delivery of Sydney Metro West it is clear the Federal Government needs to come to the party to accelerate this game changing project for Sydney.
“In the lead up to the March election, the NSW Business Chamber prosecuted the case for the next Government in NSW to Keep NSW Number 1. This Budget does just that,” Mr Cartwright said.