Commenting on today’s NSW Budget, CEO of the Committee for Sydney, Gabriel Metcalf said:
“This is a smart budget, making New South Wales the envy of the world – for now”.
“The government is making some hard choices to prioritise front line services and to invest in the infrastructure for the future, which means having to cut costs somewhere else. The downturn in the property market, resulting in a drop in stamp duty revenue, and the uncertainty about NSW’s GST share, are going to be hard problems to overcome”.
“Overall, the Treasurer has achieved no mean feat in balancing the Budget whilst committing to record levels of infrastructure spending. The Budget further enhances NSW’s reputation as the best run and most dynamic state economy in the country”.
On Metro West
“The Government’s commitment of $6.4 billion over four years will kick-start the project but now the Federal Government needs to do its part. Metro West is a project of national importance. We would like to see Scott Morrison contributing at least $3bn in Federal funds to keep Metro West on track”.
On Metro from St Marys to Western Sydney Airport
“The recently opened North West Metro has made a great impact on Sydney’s transport network and now is the time to press ahead with the Greater Western Metro, linking St Marys to the new airport. The funding commitment of $2 billion announced today will continue to resource the project going forward and create better links to the new Western Sydney Airport”.
On over $150 million commitment towards new and upgraded public open space
“Access to open space is one of the defining features of life in Sydney, and this funding will ensure that more people get to enjoy the outstanding natural environment our city has to offer. We hope to see some of the funding spent on walking tracks and bike trails, as well as creating more public parks”.
On the $1bn commitment for roads in Western Sydney
“We welcome additional spending on transport in fast-growing parts of Western Sydney but urge caution over prioritising roads over public transport. Much of Western Sydney already has a deficit of public transport and a focus on road building could leave to greater urban sprawl. We have a great opportunity to make Western Sydney full of walkable suburbs close to trains and buses – let’s not miss this once-in-a-generation chance”.
On the long-term plan for infrastructure
“The NSW Government has been very strategic about its asset recycling program. It has made this infrastructure boom possible. But we can see that eventually the Government will run out of assets to sell. It’s time to work on a plan for how to continue the infrastructure building – especially the transport that Sydney so desperately needs – with other sources of funding. Further asset recycling, land taxes, value recapture, borrowing, road user levies – all of it should be considered”.
On the Budget surplus
“Whilst government revenue is down, the Treasurer can dip into a budget surplus built up through years of effective economic management. With uncertain economic times ahead, it makes sense to use the surplus for investment, but the Treasury should also look at borrowing to fund key projects. With a AAA credit-rating and lower than ever interest rates, NSW could easily support some moderate additional borrowing to fund infrastructure. It could also help to protect NSW from any forthcoming recession – public infrastructure spending will support more than 100,000 direct and indirect NSW jobs each year over the next four years”.
Notes to Editors:
- The Committee for Sydney is an independent think tank and champion for the whole of Sydney, providing thought leadership beyond the electoral cycle. The Committee aims to enhance the economic, social, cultural and environmental conditions that make Sydney a competitive, resilient and liveable global city. The Committee has a diverse membership with over 150 member organisations making up a cross section of Sydney’s business and non-profit leadership.