NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has unveiled budget surpluses worth almost $12 billion, underpinned by stamp duty from a booming property market and asset privatisations as well as $23 billion worth of cost cuts.
Describing his first state budget as “the envy of the western world”, Mr Perrottet outlined measures squarely focused on the provision of “social infrastructure”.
Apart from the surpluses, his biggest new announcement on Tuesday was more spending on hospitals, with $720 million to upgrade Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick.
This adds to $632 million for Campbelltown Hospital, $534 million for Tweed Hospital and $576 million for Nepean Hospital and $341 million for Concord Hospital in the budget that has been previously announced.
The expenditure on health comes after the government on Monday said it would spend $2.2 billion over five years on 123 new and upgraded schools across NSW to create 32,000 student places and 1500 classrooms.
Combined with spending promised in last year’s budget, it means total expenditure on education infrastructure will be $4.2 billion over the next four years.
Mr Perrottet also announced that from January next year parents will be eligible for a $100 “active kids rebate” per child per year to cover registration and membership fees for sport and swimming lessons.
During his press conference Mr Perrottet defended the size of the rebate, insisting it will “build communities” and declaring it “the soul of the budget”.
Small businesses and farmers will also benefit from tax cuts worth $330 million over four years.
From January next year businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million a year will be exempt from paying duties on insurance for work vehicles, professional indemnity and public liability.
For farmers, the duty on crop and…