The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will continue to invest to improve essential services for the people of NSW and build the critical infrastructure needed to secure the State’s future, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Treasurer Mike Baird said today.
“This is a budget delivered in difficult economic circumstances, but the NSW Government will continue to invest in critical infrastructure to build for the future,’ Mr O’Farrell said.
“This Budget takes the tough decisions necessary to ensure a sustainable financial future for our State, while also continuing our investment in those areas where it’s most needed including health, education and transport,” he said.
Mr Baird said the 2012-13 Budget continues a significant investment in infrastructure with the NSW Government committing to spend on average $1 billion more on infrastructure a year over the four years to 2015-16 than was spent over the previous four years.
“The State’s infrastructure needs were neglected for 16 years. Despite the economic challenges we face, this Government will continue to address that backlog to deliver the critical infrastructure that communities across our State desperately need,” Mr Baird said.
“The housing shortfall in NSW is a direct example which has resulted in higher house prices for individuals and families and billions of dollars in lost revenue and jobs for our State.
“Today we have announced a significant overhaul of arrangements and incentives to directly tackle this shortfall, with this Budget providing more than half a billion dollars of new infrastructure funding to kickstart housing and construction activity across the State.
“The 2012-13 Budget also includes $9.8 billion for transport. The Budget allocates a further $3.3 billion for the North West Rail Link and $1.4 billion for the South West Rail Link and continues the NSW Government’s significant investment in roads across NSW.
“As part of this Budget, $30 million has been allocated to plan for a future Sydney Motorway network, in anticipation of the State Infrastructure Strategy being released by Infrastructure NSW later this year.
“The Budget also delivers on our promise to fund 20 per cent or around $1.5 billion of the additional cost to complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway and $941 million to improving travel times, road safety, freight efficiency and traffic conditions on this dangerous stretch of road,” Mr Baird said.
“More than $18 billion has been committed to Health, providing an extra 500 nurses, funding for an extra 50,000 emergency department presentations and 30,000 additional acute inpatient services.
“This also includes funding for major new hospital works and upgrades at Blacktown-Mt Druitt, Bega, Hornsby-Ku-ring-gai, Tamworth, Parkes and Forbes hospitals, as well as $45 million for medical research.
“Again, the NSW Government delivers record investment on mental health services and an increase in disability funding to improve and expand services and deliver better outcomes for patients, their families and carers across NSW.
“Record spending on Education also forms part of this Budget, with $13.8 billion allocated. This is an increase of $383 million on last year and includes an allocation of $535 million for new capital works including six new schools as part of the NSW Government’s $447 million investment in school infrastructure.
“In addition, $318 million has also been allocated to school maintenance – a rise of over $20 million from last year and a 22 per cent increase compared to the previous Government’s last Budget.
“An extra $98 million has been allocated to early childhood education and care which focuses on universal access to a quality early childhood education program in the 12 months prior to starting school, bringing the total to $377 million.
“As the engine room of our economy, this Budget also boosts support for small business across our State, with a 50 per cent increase to the Small Biz Connect program to expand business mentoring services and to assist business owners to tackle red tape.
“While we are facing difficult financial circumstances, the people of NSW can be confident that this Budget reflects considered and responsible decisions to restore the State’s finances and protect our triple-A credit rating, while at the same time continuing to invest in those areas where it’s most needed to ensure a better future for our State,” Mr Baird said.