Getting it done for the people of NSW
It’s been a tough six months for people in NSW, with the drought continuing to hurt rural and regional communities and an unprecedented start to the bushfire season ravaging the State. These are issues which no amount of money can fully prevent, but they demonstrate why maintaining a strong fiscal position is so important, enabling our Government to provide vital support in times of extreme hardship.
Since the June Budget we have allocated $208 million to help our rural communities, including $165.8 million for critical water initiatives. We've also allocated $170 million for infrastructure projects in the regions to help stimulate local economies. This brings the funding to approximately $2 billion already committed to drought relief.
The Government has allocated millions of dollars to help people rebuild their communities after bushfires destroyed property and claimed lives. With many fires still burning and the hottest months still to come, our strong budget position will allow us to provide further funding if required.
Our State’s finances remain firmly in surplus. Our net debt position at June 2019 was the lowest of any state and we have been able to continue making record investments in schools, hospitals and transport to improve outcomes for the people of NSW.
In fact, we have continued to build on the record $93 billion infrastructure program announced in the Budget, with additional commitments bringing the new total to $97.3 billion.
We have a pipeline of projects on the horizon and continue to build game-changing infrastructure across NSW, from the new bridge spanning the Clyde River at Batemans Bay in the south to the upgraded Pacific Highway in the north.
Our first Metro line is open with more to come, and in the coming days light rail will roll through the heart of Sydney’s CBD for the first time in nearly 60 years.
This public investment in infrastructure is helping to support thousands of jobs and adding half a percentage point to economic growth, on average, over the next two years.
Our robust financial position has made it possible to weather two years of transfer duty write downs in the midst of a substantial adjustment in the housing market, which appears to have improved markedly in the six months since the Budget.
As a result, this Half-Yearly Review has forecast transfer duty revenue of $7.5 billion in 2019-20, up from $6.9 billion.
Higher transfer duty forecasts have been tempered by a downward revision in forecast GST revenue of $352 million in 2019-20 and $730 million across the forward estimates, as consumer demand remains subdued, along with a reduction in forecast mining royalties off the back of lower commodity prices.
Our State’s financial position remains strong with a surplus of $702 million now forecast in 2019-20 (down by $314 million since the Budget) and average surpluses of $1.9 billion across the next four years (up from $1.7 billion).
The variations in key revenue streams further highlight the need for reform and the NSW Government has made strong progress on initiatives announced in June.
Both the NSW Productivity Commission and Federal Financial Relations Review teams have already released discussion papers.
Last month the State’s Chief Economist Stephen Walters released the NSW 2040 Economic Blueprint.
And just last week the Government launched a revitalised trade and investment strategy for our State —Global NSW— to encourage investment, exports and promote our State across the world and attract more business to NSW.
As we work towards economic reform, we will continue to build a better NSW, create opportunities for people to get ahead, raise their families and ensure future generations enjoy a better standard of living. As the Half-Yearly Review shows, we are not wasting a moment getting it done.
The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP
Member for Epping