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2015-16 NSW Budget
23 June 2015
 
Overview
 
NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian today handed down her first budget announcing a record surplus of $2.1 billion for the year 2014-15. The surplus was largely underpinned by higher than anticipated stamp duty receipts from the booming residential property market which surged to $7.29 billion, $1.2 billion more than budgeted. The Government has committed to allocating this amount directly to the Restart NSW infrastructure fund. The Budget predicts the surplus to grow to $2.5 billion in the coming year and to $3.2 billion in 2016-17.
 
Infrastructure remains the key theme of the Baird Government and this was strongly reflected in today’s budget. Infrastructure spending will average $10.3 billion a year, amounting to more than $68.6 billion over the forward estimates when the $20 billion Rebuilding NSW package, funded by the 49 per cent lease of the State’s electricity network, is included. Transport will receive the largest chunk of this money, with $9 billion invested in the State’s transport network in 2015-16 alone.
 
Following the passage of the Poles and Wires legislation, the Treasurer announced the Government will bring forward $591 million of spending on infrastructure so that development of major projects such as, the second Harbour rail crossing and the Parramatta Light Rail, can start as soon as possible. The Treasurer also confirmed the Sydney Metro project will include a station at the new Barangaroo development.
 
A further $1.4 billion will be spent to build a number of new hospitals and upgrade facilities at Westmead, Blacktown, Armidale, Bega, Lismore, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga. While in Education, the Department’s capital works budget will total $456 million in 2015-16. The Government has also committed $400 million to the Housing Acceleration Fund for the construction of new roads, water and electricity infrastructure necessary to facilitate the construction of new dwellings, building on the 160,000 blocks already delivered since 2011, in an attempt to address housing affordability.
 
The Treasurer said today’s budget was fiscally responsible, delivering record investment in infrastructure whilst maintaining the State’s AAA credit rating. The budget outlines an additional $1.1 billion in savings over the forward estimates as the Government seeks to contain expenditure growth to 2.8 per cent per annum, in line with anticipated growth in revenues. The Treasurer said the Government would continue to prioritise frontline services with the Budget allocating an additional 5 per cent to each of the key portfolio areas of health, education and services.
 
In her speech, the Treasurer described the State as ‘buzzing’, noting there are currently 162 cranes building new projects across Sydney, a clear sign of the strength of the NSW economy. Economic growth is projected at 3.5 per cent over the next two years, with unemployment falling to 5.5 per cent by the June quarter of 2017.
 
  
Key Initiatives
 
Transport, Infrastructure, Roads and Maritime
 
In 2015-16, $16.5 billion will be spend on public transport and roads, including $590.6 million to bring forward construction of select infrastructure projects. Key initiatives include:
 
  • $1.4 billion to continue the Pacific Highway upgrade program
  • $1 billion for metropolitan and outer metropolitan bus services including $92 million for 189 new buses
  • $1 billion to progress planning and pre-construction for WestConnex  
  • $977 million for the Sydney Metro Northwest
  • $124 million for the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor
  • $120 million to continue with delivery of CBD and South East Sydney Light Rail 
  • $103 million for Newcastle Light Rail and $19 million for planning and preparatory works for a new light rail line for Parramatta
  • $94 million to continue procurement of the next-generation intercity train fleet
  • $84 million to continue planning and development for the second harbour rail crossing as part of Sydney Metro
  • $12 million for the new First Fleet style ferries
 
Health
 
Expenditures for the Ministry of Health in 2015-16 total $19.6 billion. Key items in the budget include:
 
  • $8.7 billion for inpatient hospital services and $2.7 billion for outpatients
  • $2.6 billion for emergency care
  • $1.4 billion in health infrastructure, including works at Manning Base, Armidale, Macksville, Bowral, St Vincent’s, Ryde, Broken Hill, Grafton and Muswellbrook hospitals
  • $49.9 million for the National Partnership Agreement on Adult Public Dental Services
 
Education
 
In 2015-16, the Department of Education will receive funding of $12.8 billion. Key budget items include:
 
  • $11.2 billion on government-run primary and secondary schools and $1.1 billion for non-government schools
  • $220 million for minor works in schools, for example extra classrooms
  • $172 million to progress 27 significant school projects, and $15 million to begin 11 new building projects
  • $20 million for a new ‘Before and After School Care Fund’
 
Treasury, Finance and Justice
 
Key initiatives in the Treasury, Finance and Justice portfolios include:
 
  • $1.4 billion to the State Super defined benefit scheme to meet member expenses and reduce unfunded member liabilities
  • $362 million for Service NSW to improve digital transactions services and roll-out a further 27 ‘one-stop shops’
  • $296 million to provide tax revenue administration, fines management, debt management and support for the Jobs Action Plan payroll tax rebate and Small  Business  Employment  Incentive Scheme
  • $209 million for green slip motor vehicle insurance scheme reform
  • $31.8 million over four years towards construction of a new Coroner’s Court in a joint project with NSW Health

Planning and Environment
 
Over $1.3 billion has been allocated to the Department of Planning and Environment, a 3.2 per cent increase on last year. Key initiatives include:
 
  • $236 million for renewable energy and energy efficiency, with $202 million to go towards the Solar Bonus Scheme
  • $158 million for the Environment Protection Authority for protection measures and to implement waste reforms
  • $102 million for parklands and gardens
  • $78.5 million to help pensioners with the cost of local services and infrastructure
  • $54.9 million in increased funding to local councils for the Local Infrastructure Growth Scheme, including Priority Precincts
 
Industry, Skills and Regional Development
 
Over $3.5 billion has been allocated to the new Industry, Skills and Regional Development cluster. Key initiatives include:
 
  • $2 billion for the TAFE Commission
  • $254 million to help eligible households pay their energy bills. Low income households will get a $90 annual gas rebate
  • $186 million to help eligible households meet the cost of potable water supplies
  • $162 million for Local Land Services for farmers and rural and regional communities
  • $130 million for water saving infrastructure projects
  • $27 million for a new $2,000 Small Business Employment Incentive
 
Family and Community Services
 
Expenditures in the Department of Family and Community Services total $6.1 billion for 2015-16, including:
 
  • $342 million for social housing supply to fund new capital works and works in progress
  • $50 million for additional services to support the increased number of children and young people in need of care
  • $39.7 million to design and implement a new frontline caseworker technology system
 
Further Reading
 
Budget Papers
 
Media Releases
 
About GRACosway
GRACosway is Australia's leading public affairs and corporate and financial communications counsel. Our integrated suite of services provides public policy, communications, regulatory, issues management, and media relations advice to a range of domestic and international clients across all industry sectors. From offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, and Perth (through GRA Everingham), GRACosway's clients benefit from the combined experience, expertise, and strategic perspective of our team in addressing complex and commercially sensitive projects. For more information head to gracosway.com.au
 
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