NSW budget: $2.5 billion surplus announced
MEMBER for Clarence heralded the State Budget tabled by New South Wales treasurer Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday.
Mr Gulaptis said the budget offered great infrastructure building blocks for the Clarence to develop on top of.
"Apart from the new Grafton jail which planning for was definitely included in this budget, our big ticket items include ongoing funding for the Pacific Highway, funding for hospitals in the region, and funding towards bridges including Sportsman Creek and the new Grafton Bridge," he said.
"What has been included in this budget is an ongoing commitment to the people of the Clarence and a continuation of promises already made."
New South Wales is set to hold an underlying $712.6 million surplus according to the 2014/15 State Budget handed down on Tuesday by State treasurer Gladys Berejiklian.
With reforms to transport assets accounted for, the 2015-16 surplus is bloated to $2.5 billion arising out of an accounting change, affected by a previously announced Transport Asset Holding Entity designed to streamline the delivery of public transport infrastructure and rail services.
The budget, which cemented itself in large infrastructure spending, has been heralded as the first step toward the state's economical future.
"[This is] a time when NSW reclaimed and cemented its position as the number one state in the nation," Ms Berejiklian said. "A time when we built stronger communities, and took care of the most vulnerable.
"Building a stronger economy through record investment in infrastructure and services, and improving the quality of life of every single person in this great state.
"In this budget the state will fund an average of $10.3 billion a year on infrastructure over the forward estimates, with state infrastructure and spending in NSW over four years a record $68.6 billion."
But, the treasurer was quick to note that a funding crisis looms on the horizon with Federal funding stability an uncertainty.
"We must remember that as a service-led economy, we are a cog in a much broader national and global market, the outlook of which is mixed," she said.
"We are also exposed to varying commonwealth grants and to the volatility of stamp duty receipts. A government that failed to recognise the challenges of its budget in this way would be irresponsible."
Contained in the budget was record spending by the State Government on schools and hospitals for the 2015-2016 financial year.
The $19.6 billion investment into State hospitals scheduled for the period represents an increase of $976 million (5.2%) from the previous year.
On top of that figure is a further $1.4 billion to be spent on capital works to build and renovate health facilities in NSW. This takes the total health spending to $21 billion.
Ms Berejiklian also promised a record $12.4 billion investment in schools with $205 million set aside for 11 new buildings.
Building blocks of the Budget
INFRASTRUCTURE AND ROADS
$1.4bn to help duplicate Pacific Highway in northern NSW
$68.6bn allocated over four years for infrastructure, mainly on roads and health
$1.5bn for roads and maritime assets maintenance. Includes bridge rebuilding and repairing footpaths
$404m for rural and regional bus services
$316m to improve access to public transport
$521m for concession schemes for pensioners, students and people with disabilities
$92m to help replace bus fleets and cope with the growth in service demands, particularly in Sydney
Forecast of $1.5bn loss to the budget by 2017-18 if the federal government goes ahead with planned cuts
$19.6bn expense budget
$2.6bn for emergency care
More than $10bn for inpatient and outpatient care at hospitals
$1.7bn for mental health services
$1.6bn for rehabilitation and extended care
$913m for primary and community-based services
$12.4bn for schools
$224m over four years for a mentoring and coaching program for teachers
$167m over four years for extra school counsellors, flexible wellbeing resources and targeted support for Aboriginal and refugee students
$348m for "enhanced support" in the early childhood education and care sector
$148.5m over four years on specialist programs for victims of domestic violence
The pilot of the domestic violence disclosure scheme will be launched, allowing women to find out if their partner has ever had restraining orders imposed or has been to court on charges of domestic violence
$33m over four years for the women's domestic violence court advocacy program
$10.4m over the next financial year to provide women with medium-term financial help as they leave violent partners