Baird channels Keating to describe budget as ‘a beautiful set of numbers’

NSW Premier Mike Baird evoked former prime minister Paul Keating when he told parliament the state budget was a “beautiful set of numbers” during question time yesterday.

Despite the risk of Keating’s 1990 comments jinxing the budget (with recession setting in soon after the words Keating uttered as federal treasurer), Mr Baird was triumphant in his praise of his government’s budget.

“In the words of one of the great character referees, I believe today is a beautiful set of numbers,” he said.

“They are a beautiful set of numbers, and the reason they are a beautiful set of numbers is because we of this side of the house have been doing the hard work for three years.”

Mr Baird said as a result of 16 years of Labor mismanagement, his government inherited an economy that was a laggard.

“We had a position where NSW was coming last, what we see now is NSW…leading the nation,” he said.

The Premier also told the Parliament that $325 million had been provided for water security which “we are also very proud to provide”.

However, the Labor Opposition slammed the budget claiming that it was cutting money to vital services such as healthcare and education.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said the government had “left our hospitals half a billion dollars short of what the Australian Medical Association has said is necessary just to keep the system going”.

Shadow treasurer Michael Daley also questioned cuts to education: “Given your budget includes a $50 million cut to infrastructure spending for schools and TAFE, what do you say to parents, teachers and students who won’t receive the upgrades that they deserve?”

This budget will leave the state in a $1 billion surplus for this financial year, while next financial year there will be a projected $283 million deficit. This will be followed by projected surpluses of $660 million in 2015-16, $2.1 billion in 2016-17 and $1.6 billion in 2017-18.

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