NSW Budget shows we can be trusted to manage the State’s finances

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It’s an exciting time to be living in NSW. The 2014-15 State Budget contains funding for some of the biggest infrastructure projects in Australian history as the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government continues rebuilding NSW, to make up for the lack of progress during 16 years of Labor mismanagement.

This year’s Budget shows a significant turnaround in public finances. Our economy has grown 4.7 per cent over the last year and our rate of growth has led the nation for two consecutive quarters, boosting confidence across the board.

We are making ground to return the NSW Budget to surplus. This year, we have worked hard to limit our forecast deficit in 2014-15 to $283 million. However, we are on track to be back in the black next financial year with an expected Budget surplus of $660 million.

This is an achievement that is being made possible despite the Commonwealth cost-shifting onto New South Wales. We’ve taken a $2.2 billion hit to our revenue expectations, which does impact on our bottom line over the next five years. We’re plugging the gap left to us by Canberra and will invest $220 million to retain health services, and another $107 million to maintain pensioner concessions. Importantly, we’re able to do that thanks to sound economic management that has placed NSW being in a position of greater financial security.

This year’s Budget begins the heavy lifting on some of the biggest projects in Australian history. Included is $1.3 billion for hospital rebuilding and repair works, $863 million to start construction on the North West Rail Link, $398 million for work on the 33km WestConnex motorway, $265 million to start major construction on the CBD and South East Light Railproject, and $103 millionfinal works to complete the South West Rail Link.

These are significant projects that are already underway and have received funding injections to ensure they are completed on time and on budget.

The amount of construction taking place right across Sydney is encouraging to see, and the community can be confident the NSW Liberals & Nationals are taking every step to make sure these projects are delivered as soon as possible.

As part of the Budget, $400 million has been set aside to accelerate work on a light rail line for Parramatta – Sydney’s second CBD. The funding will be set aside in our major infrastructure fund, Restart NSW, to provide the missing transport link, to change the way people travel in-and-around Western Sydney.

The popularity of the Inner West Light Rail Extension shows the NSW Government has a proven track record delivering public transport infrastructurewhere commuters need it. Reserving this funding will ensure work can start immediately to introduce light rail to Parramatta once a feasibility study is completed.

The Budget also includes $633 million to make it easier to catch public transport on the Northern Beaches. This investment over the next five years will include money for major road improvements, particularly to improve access to the new Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenchs Forest. Money will also be invested into a turn-up-and-go bus service for people travelling into the Sydney CBD, new transport interchanges, and extra commuter car parks. We’ve also allocated $5 million to look into options to establish a Northern Beaches tunnel in the future.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate Treasurer Andrew Constance on his first State Budget. It’s a strong and measured Budget that allows us to get on with the job of rebuilding NSW for the benefit of our future generations.

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Australian Magazine)

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