Australia’s leading economy
In the six months since the 2017-18 NSW Budget, New South Wales has extended its track record as the nation’s economic engine room while the Government works even harder to make NSW the best place to live, work, run a business and raise a family.
The NSW economy grew 2.9 per cent in 2016-17, well above the long-run average and contributing nearly half of Australia’s overall economic growth.
Record construction activity in NSW has been a key driver of the economy’s strength, fuelled by residential activity, business investment and the Government’s massive infrastructure program.
Asset recycling unleashes infrastructure revolution
Our unprecedented infrastructure program of $80.1 billion over four years is delivering schools, hospitals, roads, rail and cultural projects to create more opportunity, support world-class services and improve life for those who live and work in NSW.
This record infrastructure pipeline is a key factor in the State’s ongoing success, bolstering construction activity, driving jobs growth and adding a forecast ½ percentage point each year to economic growth over the next two years.
The pipeline includes record NSW investment in schools and hospitals, as well as critical road, rail and other transport infrastructure. Projects continue to come online, with new funding to start work on the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 as well as the F6 Extension.
NSW accounts for about 40 per cent of estimated infrastructure spending by all states and territories in 2017-18. It is only possible because of the success of our asset recycling strategy. Communities across NSW will continue to benefit as the proceeds from the poles-and-wires transactions and other asset divestments are invested back into essential infrastructure across the State.
NSW is on track to be the first Australian state with net worth exceeding a quarter of a trillion dollars by June 2019, driven in part by the Government’s successful asset recycling program.
Strong finances now and in the future
The Half-Yearly Review forecasts a surplus of $3.3 billion for 2017-18 and average surpluses of $2.1 billion over four years. The forecast surpluses partly reflect stronger payroll and land tax revenues, somewhat offset by a drop in transfer duty following the introduction of the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme.
Net debt at June 2017 was negative $9.3 billion, reflecting the success of our long-term electricity network leases.
These strong results demonstrate the Government’s sound financial management. Both major ratings agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, have recently reaffirmed NSW’s triple-A credit rating.
Australia’s jobs engine
Our unemployment rate has been the lowest of any state for more than two years, falling to 4.6 per cent in late 2017. NSW has added 219,000 jobs since April 2015 – well above the election commitment of 150,000 by 2019. Over the year to August, 7,100 jobs were added in the non-residential construction industry.
Importantly, more than 80 per cent of the jobs added since April 2015 have been full-time positions, spreading the benefits to families and businesses across NSW. Our youth unemployment is the lowest among the states.
The robust employment growth reflects the State’s record business conditions, covering profitability and sales activity, as more businesses choose to invest in NSW for the future.
Helping ease the cost of living
The State’s strong fiscal position allows us to do even more to help families meet cost of living challenges, giving communities their fair share and supporting those in need.
Our First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme, announced in the 2017-18 Budget, has so far helped more than 13,000 families and individuals purchase their first home, while the Active Kids program will kick off in January, saving families $100 per child enrolled in school to cover the cost of sport.
The Half-Yearly Review adds new initiatives to ease pressure on families, with expanded energy rebates and a program to eliminate car registration costs for regular toll road users.
We are putting families first and making sure communities benefit from the growth, opportunity and prosperity on offer in NSW today.
The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP
Treasurer, and Minister for Industrial Relations
Member for Hawkesbury