NSW Budget a "shot in the arm" for GWS workers

Belinda Wallis •
September 19, 2023

The NSW Budget is set to be a shot in the arm for Greater Western Sydney’s key workers and essential services, according to the region’s leading think-tank, The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue.  

The 2023-24 NSW Budget’s firm focus on health, education, homes and wage rises will help address the cost-of-living crisis that has hit Greater Western Sydney’s 2.65 million residents hardest. 

Dialogue CEO, Adam Leto, said the Labor government’s back-to-basics budget provided a reset for the residents, workers and diverse communities of Greater Western Sydney, with a focus on vital health and education services. 

“By putting people at the heart of its first Budget, the Minns Government has delivered a shot in the arm for Western Sydney residents, with a renewed focus on schools, hospitals and housing in the west,” Mr Leto said. 

“Prioritising essential front-line services and continuing the big spend on much-needed public infrastructure will create stronger communities in the state’s fastest-growing region.  

“The NSW Government is rightly investing in the essential health and education infrastructure required to meet demand, especially in our south-west and north-west growth areas.”  

Budget provisions for wage rises for teachers, police and healthcare workers will offer a welcome boost to the many people struggling under increased household pressures, according to the Dialogue. 

“Western Sydney accounts for more than a quarter of the state’s public sector workers and home to more healthcare workers than anywhere else in NSW,” Mr Leto said.  

“These workers will be pleased with the Government’s commitment to invest $2.5b in pay increases, which is critical in ensuring we can continue to attract and retain our talent.”  

The Dialogue said the new $2.2 billion Housing and Infrastructure Plan was critical in helping address supply, while importantly, also ensuring the important infrastructure pieces were considered.  

“Housing is a critical issue, and the residents of Western Sydney are being smashed by declining housing supply, a shortfall in social and affordable housing, higher house prices, rising mortgage repayments and rent increases that are worsening cost of living pressures like nowhere else. 

“Housing has never been less affordable than it is right now, and the people of Western Sydney are either locked out of owning a home or locked into mortgage and rental stress.  

The Dialogue welcomed the Minns Government’s continued investment in the state’s infrastructure pipeline, in spite of well-documented cost escalation on a number of critical megaprojects. This includes the retention of $13.7b for Australia’s largest public transport project, Sydney Metro West, over the forward estimates.  

“While we wait for the final recommendations and response to the Independent Review of Sydney Metro, it is reassuring to see Metro West remains on track. Western Sydney can’t afford any further delay on this project,” Mr Leto said.  

“Prioritising the West will not only make a positive difference to the region, it is an investment in our nation’s future.” 

Western Sydney-focused spending in the 2023-24 NSW Budget includes: 

  • $3 billion investment for new and upgraded hospitals 
  • $3.5 billion investment in Western Sydney schools to provide 24 new schools and 51 upgrades to existing schools 
  • Additional $1 billion to complete Sydney Metro City and Southwest 
  • $374.1 million to complete Stage 1 Parramatta Light Rail 
  • Additional $200 million for Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 
  • $7.9 billion for the Sydney Metro to Western Sydney Airport, with 6 new stations to service the new airport 
  • $302.7 million reserved for Rapid Bus network to connect people in Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown to the new Western Sydney Airport 
  • $80.6 for koala habitat protection in southwest Sydney 
  • $47.8 million Multicultural Communities Support Package  
  • $30 million Multicultural Capital Partnership Fund 
  • $15 million for places of worship in Western Sydney  
  • $60 toll cap that will mean a $5,500 a year saving for southwest Sydney commuters.