The 2018-19 NSW Budget was handed down on June 19 by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet; his second as treasurer, and the Berejiklian Government’s last Budget before the March 2019 state election.
Similar to the preceeding two Budgets , the 2018-19 Budget focuses strongly on hospitals, education and transport infrastructure. A total of $87.2 billion over the next four years will be invested in the state’s infrastructure pipeline. This includes $8b for health infrastructure, $6.8b to deliver schools and training centres, and $51.2b for road and rail projects.
The 2017-18 Budget surplus stands at $3.9b with surpluses averaging of $1.6b projected in each year over the forward estimates. The surplus exceeds last year’s Budget and mid-year forecasts, and is widely expected to fund additional commitments in the lead up to the March 2019 election.
NSW Generations Fund
The Government has established the NSW Generations Fund, a new sovereign wealth fund with $3b in seed funding allocated and further funding to flow from the Government’s asset recycling prgram. The dividends of this fund will used to fund small-scale projects, which can be nominated and voted for by all members of the community over the age of 16. Projects may include playgrounds, community mobility services, public gardens, upgrades to local sporting facilities, public artworks and festivals, programs for at risk youth, and healthy lifestyles initiatives.
Of the $8b in health infrastructure spending, approximately $3.8b will be spent on Greater Western Sydney. New funding includes $740m for the Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct (complete 2026), $75m for the land for the future Rouse Hill Health Service, and $25m for the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital Emergency Department (complete 2020).
Continued funding includes:
- $765m for Stage 1 of the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment;
- $632m going to Stage 1 and 2 of the Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospital Redevelopment;
- $632m for Stage 2 of the Campbelltown Hospital Redevelopment;
- $550m for Stage 1 of the Nepean Hospital Redevelopment;
- $95m to Stage 1 of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Redevelopment; and
- $91.5m for the Lidcombe forensic pathology lab and Coroner’s court.
Westmead, Campbelltown, Blacktown and Nepean Hospitals all received continued funding for redevelopment of their respective car parks.
Non-infrastructure related investments in health in the 2018-19 Budget included a landmark $156.5m for a new Parents Package to improve the wellbeing of new parents and their babies, and investing $23.7m in 2018-19 for ambulance services to employ an additional 700 paramedics and 50 call centre staff over four years. The existing $12m investment in drug and alcohol serves and the $82.5m for community based mental health services is continued.
The 2018-19 Budget includes $6.8b over the forward estimates to spend on education infrastructure across NSW, a further increase of $2.6b on last year’s landmark investment in school projects. This includes the delivery of over 170 new and upgraded schools and training facilities, approximately $500m for the installation of air-conditioning in various schools, and almost $400m worth of TAFE NSW infrastructure investment.
Western Sydney received funding for 28 new and upgraded schools including a new primary and high school at Edmondson Park, a new primary school at Westmead, and continued funding for the construction of the new high-rise Arthur Phillip High School in Parramatta.
This Budget also works towards extending universal education access to preschool for three-year-olds by injecting $197.8m over the forward estimates into community preschools through the (existing) Start Strong Program. NSW is the first state in Australia to do so, and this is expected to, on average, save participating families $825 dollars per year from January 2019.
The Budget will inject $285.2m over six years to fund 100,000 free apprenticeships with TAFE or other registered providers. This is an effort by the NSW Government to increase apprenticeship commencements by removing the financial barrier to participating, and thereby address skills shortages in areas of significant demand in NSW.
With $51.2b budgeted over the forward estimates, spending on transport has exceeded that of the 2017-18 NSW Budget’s record investment. This aims to deliver over 3,500 road and rail projects across the state. Western Sydney will benefit from this spending through a number of projects including:
- $3b in new funding reserved in Restart NSW for Sydney Metro West, with a further $28.1m for the planning and business case, which is already well underway;
- $3.5b for to complete Sydney Metro Northwest, with $2.4b to be spent in 2018-19;
- $780m for new roads and road upgrades across Western Sydney.
- $50m (also matched by the Federal Government) for the project development and business case of North South Rail for the Western Sydney Airport, Stage 1; and
- $400m committed to Parramatta Light Rail, with $258m committed this year to commence construction of Stage 1 and $20m for Stage 2 planning.
The budget includes $2.4b in capital spending across the forward estimates for housing and social infrastructure throughout NSW. In addition to this, $1.1b seed capital will be provided for the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (announced 2016-17), and over the next decade $22b will go into the Communities Plus Program and $2.8b for the upgrade and maintenance of social housing.
The Social and Affordable Housing Fund is the NSW Government’s current approach for commissioning social and affordable housing. The Fund is presently in Phase 1, where 2,200 additional social and affordable dwellings are being delivered. Phase 2 is expected to begin by December 2018 and is targeting the delivery of up to 1,200 dwellings, with a focus on housing women aged 55 and over.
Specifically for Western Sydney, $30m ($15m each from the NSW and Federal Governments) has been set aside for the Western Sydney Parkland City Housing Package. The goal of this package is to ensure sustainable growth through streamlined and optimised planning practices.
Over the forward estimates the NSW Government is investing an additional $59.1m into the NSW statutory child protection system. This includes adding an extra 100 child protection workers to ensure more children are supported in the system, and to help achieve the goal of 1,000 open adoptions over the next four years.
Also included for community services is an $87m injection into Community Transport and Community Care services to assist people who have difficulties accessing transport.
The Budget contains funding for a number of Aboriginal services programs. This includes $33.1m for the Aboriginal Social Housing Strategy, and $10m for social impact investment to support Aboriginal economic development across the forward estimates. Also included for 2018-19 is $3.75m to support an additional 1,000 student placements in the Clontarf Foundation program, and $2.8m for the establishment of Australia’s first Aboriginal Languages Trust.
To address domestic violence and reduce homelessness, new initiatives include $61.1m over four years to implement the NSW Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 (programs including Staying Home Leaving Violence, sustaining tenancy supports, social impact investment and transitional accommodation), and $44.1m over three years to support people impacted by domestic violence and reduce reoffending and re-victimisation.
The big-ticket item for sport is the continued funding of the Western Sydney Stadium - $183.7m in 2018-19 with an estimated total cost of $360m. The project is due for completion in early 2019, providing a stunning new home facility for the Parramatta Eels and Western Sydney Wanderers.
Through the Western Sydney City Deal, the Western Sydney Parkland City Liveability Program came to being. The NSW Budget contributes $60m towards this, with the Federal Government matching that sum, and local councils funding $30m. This project will deliver community infrastructure and public spaces to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.
Reserved from Restart NSW is $100m for the Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund. This will be used to develop or upgrade local sports facilities, including ovals, dressing rooms, kiosks, and equipment.
Additionally, the $30m put into the Share our Space program aims to open more than 80 public schools to the public throughout school holidays to encourage greater use of school facilities such as playgrounds, ovals and sport courts.
The Government is seeking to improve liveability for communities across NSW, and is allocating $287.5m over five years to do so. Programs within this include $100m for the acquisition of green and open space for public use across the Greater Sydney region, and $37.5m to partner with communities, councils and businesses to increase the average tree canopy across Sydney, by planting an extra five million native trees.
For further information
This overview document is a summary of key measures included in the Budget that are of relevance to Western Sydney and the Dialogue policy and advocacy agenda. The above list and analysis are not exhaustive, and cover highlights only. For more specific information on any of this, or any other Budget item, please contact the Dialogue team.