This year has been tough on all of us. The Delta outbreak not only put our health at risk, but it cost jobs, put businesses back into hibernation and restricted our freedoms.
We spent months at home to protect ourselves, our families and our community. During this time, we also had a chance to reflect and learnt to appreciate the simple things in life, like catching up with family, sitting in cafés with friends and taking our children to the park.
As we reach the end of 2021, our State’s economy is looking stronger. Its strength is a reflection of our people, our workers and our businesses who sacrificed so much this year.
Our State has come through Delta with elevated business confidence while consumer confidence is also up as we head into a much-needed holiday season.
Growth in jobs has resumed and vacancies are higher than pre-pandemic levels. Economic activity and employment are now projected to rebound back above pre-Delta outbreak levels in the March quarter 2022.
We’re in this strong financial position because of the efforts of our people – getting vaccinated so quickly, following COVID-19 restrictions and wearing face masks.
Our policies have also had a big impact, with the NSW Government committing around $45 billion in health, economic and social measures since March 2020.
Our JobSaver program paid out more than $7 billion (including a contribution from the Commonwealth) to more than 206,000 businesses.
Our $2.8 billion Economic Recovery Strategy is building strong foundations for the recovery, while our $5 billion WestInvest program will help build vital infrastructure in south-western and western Sydney.
The State will record a larger deficit in 2021-22 than forecast when the Budget was handed down in June, but remains on track for a return to surplus by 2024-25.
The State’s response to the pandemic and our strong recovery show the importance and power of investing in the fundamentals of our economy and our society.
We need to ensure that a little girl born today has the same opportunities to prosper as the little boy born in the room next to her.
We need to ensure that we are investing in research and development, and delivering the new technologies, jobs and industries of the future.
We need to ensure that we are taking advantage of the huge opportunities of the global move to decarbonise.
We need to ensure that every child in our State has the best start to life, and receives the education and training to make the most of their talents.
We need to ensure that everyone who works hard can achieve a stake in our State by being able to buy their own home.
These are the structural challenges of our time. Because of the policies set out in this Half-Yearly Review, and the huge efforts made by the people of NSW, we have the opportunity to build on one of the strongest and most resilient economies anywhere in the world.
We have the chance to turn these structural challenges into the economic opportunities of our generation and to bounce back stronger from COVID-19.
16 December 2021