NSW budgets on early surplus

A surplus one year ahead of schedule was announced by New South Wales Treasurer Andrew Constance yesterday when bringing down the state’s budget.

The surplus is based on the federal government’s commitment to give NSW an early payment of $700 million for the Pacific Highway upgrades.

Premier Mike Baird said in question time the government would see a $3 billion turnaround this financial year, resulting in average surpluses of $1.5 billion over the following three years.

The budget was indicative of a responsible government that has the “ability to absorb shocks and invest in infrastructure,” Mr Baird said.

In what was the last budget before elections in March next year, the government is spending up across all major areas.

There will be big increases to welfare, health, education and infrastructure spending.

The government plans to spend just under $600 million for the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, a record $20 billion will be injected into the health system and a further $14 billion into education, fulfilling the government’s undertaking to finance the Gonski school reforms.

Mr Baird said the centrepiece of the budget was the proposed “once in a generation $20 billion infrastructure plan”, which will see the completion of the north-West rail link and Parramatta’s light rail network.

The opposition attacked the government for talking instead of building.

“The Liberals have now handed down four budgets. We’ve seen plenty of studies, glossy documents and animations. Strip all that away and the Government is still yet to begin construction on a major road or rail project,” shadow treasurer Michael Daley said.

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