The recently elected New South Wales (NSW) state government has been determined to address the “largest debt in our state’s history.” Under the previous administration’s projections, a deficit of $7.1 billion was expected for this financial year. However, Finance Minister Courtney Houssos declared that the government has managed to change the state’s financial trajectory.
“We will announce a $3.6 billion improvement to the budget result over four years. That puts us on a pathway back to a budget surplus next year,” said Finance Minister Houssos.
To achieve this, the government has announced several budget cuts targeting different sectors. One of the measures includes the removal of rebates on electric vehicles (EVs) due to the claim that these rebates increase the overall cost of the vehicles. Instead, the government plans to allocate $260 million to improving EV infrastructure.
Additionally, means-testing will be implemented for the Active Kids vouchers program, resulting in annual savings of approximately $160 million for taxpayers. The Circular Quay upgrade, which included plans for a “high line” walk and a redesign of the ferry terminal, will be simplified to a basic wharf upgrade.
The local screen industry will also face cuts, with $188 million being trimmed from programs like Made in NSW, which supports the production of blockbuster films and high-end television shows. Furthermore, the expansion of the Wyangala Dam near Cowra in the state’s Central West has been canceled due to its estimated cost of $4 billion and potential environmental impacts.
To show commitment, politicians and senior NSW bureaucrats will forgo pay raises over the next two years, saving the budget $260 million over four years.
These budget cuts will enable the government to redirect funds towards increasing frontline worker pay and easing the cost of living for households.
Overall, the NSW state government aims to address its financial challenges and work towards returning to a budget surplus in the near future.
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– Active Kids vouchers: means-tested program to assist families with the cost of children’s sport and recreational activities.
– Circular Quay: a prominent waterfront precinct in Sydney, Australia.
– Made in NSW: a program that supports the production of major film and television projects in the state.
– Wyangala Dam: a large water storage facility located near Cowra in NSW.