NSW Budget 2021-22: A Pandemic Response after a Decade of Delivery
Tuesday 22 June 2021
Handing down his fifth budget, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has reflected on a decade of the NSW Coalition in Government, under premiers Barry O’Farrell, Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian. Mr Perrottet said the Coalition’s work between 2011 to 2020 prepared the NSW economy and health system for the shocks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Announcing “NSW is back”, the Treasurer discussed the recovery of the state economy since last year, noting improvements to consumer spending, dwelling investment and a decline in unemployment. Significantly, Mr Perrottet projected a surplus of $466 million will be achieved in 2024-25.
As foreshadowed in media reporting and as a result of the recovery of the budget, the Treasurer said the Government will permit wage increases of up to 2.5 per cent for NSW public servants. The Treasurer also flagged a further $200 million in tax relief for businesses and households, noting $9.4 billion in tax cuts since the Coalition was elected.
The Berejiklian Government will invest $108.5 billion in infrastructure over the forward estimates. Some of the key items include $3.3 billion on new and improved school infrastructure and $1.15 billion on the Bradfield City Centre around the Western Sydney Airport.
The Government also continues to spend big on roads with $2.7 billion for the M6 Extension and $2 billion for the Great Western Highway. Also, the NSW Community Building Partnership program, which funds infrastructure in local electorates across the state, will see each electorate receive a further $100,000.
The Treasurer confirmed the Government’s proposed sale of WestConnex will go ahead as part of the ongoing asset recycling program. The Budget papers also confirm the Government is exploring the potential ‘monetisation’ of Lotteries Duty and scoping studies are underway for other assets.
Amidst an ongoing COVID outbreak in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Mr Perrottet revealed further investment in the state’s health response to the pandemic which has reached $4 billion to date. Specifically, the Government will provide a further $260 million for the vaccine rollout.
Continuing the theme of health investment, the NSW Government will spend big on ambulance services and new mental health services in regional and rural communities. The growth of telehealth and virtual care required by the pandemic is set to continue with a $500 million investment over the forward estimates.
Treasurer Perrottet has highlighted the success of the Dine and Discovery voucher program, revealing some nine million vouchers have now been redeemed, providing more than $300 million to 12,500 businesses in NSW. The Government will build on this success by offering $100 vouchers to spend in the Sydney CBD on Fridays to support the local economy. Once again, cost of living is a key focus of the budget, and the Government will also provide $100 vouchers for every pre-school child aged from three to six years to learn how to swim.
In social services, the Treasurer also flagged increased investment in supporting victims of domestic and family violence with $94 million for housing. In a significant move, the Government will also offer five days of leave to women in the public service who experience stillbirth or miscarriage. NSW public servants will also receive premature birth leave, meaning parental leave will commence on the day a premature baby would have reached full term.
Following the release of the NSW Productivity Commission White Paper last month, the Treasurer committed to update the Parliament every six months on the implementation of the productivity agenda, and noted $20.5 billion invested in education in the budget. Mr Perrottet also emphasised changes to the state’s approach to education, noting opportunities to amend public school start times and new funding to encourage high-achieving university students to become teachers.
Treasurer Perrottet also flagged changes to the state’s infrastructure contribution system, through legislation introduced to the House today. These changes follow last year’s Infrastructure Contributions Review and will see the creation of a regional infrastructure contributions system, with levies collected in areas including Greater Sydney to fund infrastructure.
The Government will also provide $489.5 million to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles including $171 million for the provision of charging infrastructure.
For further information on key NSW portfolio measures, please refer to GRACosway’s detailed briefings:
- Treasury, Premier and Cabinet
- Customer Service
- Planning, Industry and Environment
- Stronger Communities
- Regional NSW
KEY PARAMETERS IN 2021-22
- $8.6 billion deficit
- $23.2 billion in new capital expenditure
- $63.3 billion in net debt, equal to 9.3 per cent of the Gross State Product (GSP)
- Net debt to reach $103.9 billion by 2024-25
- Forecast growth of 5.25 per cent in nominal GSP
- Unemployment rate to fall to 5.25 per cent
- Population to decline by 0.1 per cent this year, before growing by 0.7 per cent in 2022-23