While NSW might be trying to bounce back after the coronavirus crisis hammered the economy, there’s still some good news for residents in the state budget.
Here’s what’s in it for you.
IF YOU LOVE FOOD, CULTURE AND NIGHT-LIFE
Every adult in the state will get $100 to spend at restaurants or entertainment venues in a move inspired by the UK. The money will come in the form of vouchers and will cost the state $500 million — but the government hopes it will pay itself off in economic growth.
The voucher scheme will mean every adult resident receives four $25 digital vouchers – two to be used for eating at restaurants, cafes, clubs and other food service venues, and two for entertainment activities such as cultural institutions, performing arts, cinemas and amusement parks.
Culture vultures will be happy to see a $175 million commitment to the TV and film industry. The state government is hoping to attract international movie shoots to NSW, and that local crews will be hired.
There is also an entry of $104.5 million to “improve accessibility, sustainability and functionality of cultural assets”.
And, the arts sector is also being promised a $50 million COVID-19 bailout.
IF YOU’RE A SPORTS FAN
The government is splashing $100 million for upgrades to sports facilities across the state. Some of that money will also go towards building new ones. It will be doled out in the form of grants of up to $1 million each.
The sports industry will also get a $27.3 million COVID-19 bailout.
IF YOU LIVE IN THE REGIONS
The state government is opening the purse and making it rain over the regions, including those stricken by drought and fires over the last few years.
There will be $4.5 billion to help with drought and water security, and $4.4 billion for bushfire recovery.
The drought money includes $1 billion in concessional loans, $170 million for infrastructure projects and $99 million for primary producers, such as farmers.
The bush will also benefit from a $1.8 billion portion of a $3 billion jobs fund with the hope of creating new jobs.
IF YOU WERE AFFECTED BY BUSHFIRES
Bushfire recovery will be boosted by a $4.5 billion cash injection.
The funds will go towards rebuilding roads, bridges, schools and other state-owned assets torched during the Black Summer. There will also be $217 million for critical communications infrastructure, $190 million for infrastructure projects, and $46 million for replanting forests.
Those funds will also go towards economic recovery in the regions and supporting small businesses affected by the fires.
IF YOU HAVE A TERMINALLY ILL FAMILY MEMBER
Palliative care services will receive funds worth $55.9 million over four years. That will pay for 5000 “end-of-life support packages” to enable those who are dying make a choice about where to be until then, and what care they will receive.
Those patients will also have access to specialised professionals and other services.
IF YOU CATCH THE TRAIN OR BUS
Commuters will benefit from a $1.6 billion boost to bus services across the state. Those who ride the train on the Illawarra, Airport and south coast lines will be happy about a $1.1 billion investment into those services.
The previously announced Metro West project in Sydney will be funded to the tune of $10.4 billion. And the Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport rail line will have $9.2 billion in funds.
IF YOU ARE ELDERLY
Older folks who need care will see a sector boosted by a $17 million fund for “upskilling” care workers.
A new TAFE training centre for aged care workers will also be funded to the tune of $2.5 million.
IF YOU REQUIRE HOSPITAL CARE
There are a couple of hospital projects being funded in the budget, including $385 million for the ambulatory care facilities at St George Hospital in Kogarah and a $60 million portion of the $608 million cost of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network redevelopment in Randwick.
Other hospital funds include $673.3 million for Tweed Hospital and $632 million for Campbelltown Hospital.
IF YOU’RE THINKING OF BUYING A HOME
One big change proposed in the new budget is to give prospective homebuyers the option to do away with stamp duty and instead pay an annual property charge.
In his budget speech, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was expected to slam the stamp duty as a “relic from a bygone era”.
The government said it would ask for feedback from the public on that proposed change, and other changes to the land tax system.
IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT COVID-19
COVID-19 is at the forefront of the NSW Government’s budget for 2020-21 with the government already committing to inject $29.3 billion into the state’s health care system, including forking out $500 million for hotel quarantine, testing facilities and COVID-19 clinics.
“This budget enhances the health systems that have made our state a standout success, including $190 million to keep our world-leading pathology testing and contact tracing at the cutting edge,” Mr Perrottet said while delivering his budget speech.
Of the health response package, $385 million will be put towards additional PPE for frontline workers and $45 million will be used to expand Telehealth services.
Another $30 million will be spent on additional emergency department attendance and ambulance calls.
IF YOU’RE A SCHOOL LEAVER OR JOB SEEKER
Finding a job is more difficult than ever, which is why the Treasurer said funding would be allocated to deliver training programs in a bid to help job seekers either find employment or climb the career ladder.
Over two years, $318.6 million will be invested into the government’s Skilling for Recovery training package, designed to offer more than 100,000 affordable or free training places for job seekers.
Grants of up to $5000 will be made available to women looking to return to the workforce.
“We will also help more women stay in the workforce, with a new paid parental leave policy for the NSW public sector, making 14 weeks’ leave available to all eligible workers,” Mr Perrottet said.
Another 300 traineeships will be created in the community housing and construction sectors with $80 million set aside to boost intake.
And $57.4 million will be spent over four years to create a landmark Trades and Skills Pathways Centre.
IF YOU LIVE IN SOCIAL HOUSING
Those living in government subsided housing, in desperate need of a revamp, will be glad to know the state government has committed $812 million for social and Indigenous housing.
The cash splash will go towards 1200 new dwellings and upgrades to at least 8000 properties.
IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH
A $169.4 million mental health package has been handed down by the NSW government in this year’s budget after the Treasurer described mental health as one of the pandemic’s “most insidious hidden costs”.
The funds are in addition to the $73 million package revealed in April to boost services for those who need it as a result of the pandemic.
The new spend will sprinkled across expanding youth mental health services, expanding virtual services for those in need of immediate care and recruiting at least 100 wellbeing nurses in schools.
IF YOU’RE A VULNERABLE MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY
Several measures to protect vulnerable members of the community have been outlined in this year’s budget.
In addition to funding for social housing, a $50 million COVID-19 bailout will be put towards the charity sector to help organisations adapt and respond to the crisis.
Another $20 million will be spent on Closing the Gap, and supporting the equal participation of Aboriginal communities in priority reforms. And $29 million will be injected into the government’s Together Home initiative.
IF YOU OWN A SMALL BUSINESS
Small business owners will be thrown a lifeline with the NSW Government to increase the payroll tax-free threshold from $1 million to $1.2 million, which will mean 3500 businesses will no longer have to pay payroll tax.
The payroll tax rate will also be slashed from 5.45 per cent to 4.85 per cent for the next two years and tax cuts are expected to save businesses $2.4 billion over the next two financial years.
Mr Perrottet said financial measures were designed to help save businesses feeling “the pinch” post-pandemic.
Smaller businesses will also receive $1500 digital vouchers to put towards government fees and charges.
“We will also recognise interstate licences and qualifications, so workers from any state can ply their trade in NSW. It’s all about getting government out of the way so businesses get on with business,” he said.
IF YOU HAVE KIDS AT SCHOOL
Students who have had their school year interrupted by COVID-19 will benefit from a $337 million investment to help deliver tutoring to up to 290,000 students.
Another $120 million has been set aside to extend the existing free preschool program, taking it to the end of 2021.
Earlier a $7.7 billion investment into skills and education was revealed, including funding to upgrades to schools and maintenance for TAFE NSW.
A rollout of $157.8 million worth of LED lights across NSW schools is also featured in the budget.
IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE BUDGET BOTTOM LINE
The government has recorded a staggering $16 billion budget deficit, as the economy looks to rebuild after it was battered by the coronavirus crisis.
But the Treasurer believes the state government has delivered a budget that will help return NSW to surplus by 2024-25.
During the 2019-20 financial year, NSW recorded a deficit of $6.9 billion.