June 19, 2019
Source: The Australian
Author: Elias Visontay
19 June, 2019
Business leaders and economic think tanks have praised the NSW government for sticking to its election promise of investing heavily in infrastructure and for achieving a surplus, heralding the state’s budget as “the envy of the world — for now”.
Citing the budget surplus, investments in roads and the expansion of Sydney’s Metro system confirmed in yesterday’s budget, the chief executive of the Committee for Sydney think tank Gabriel Metcalf said “the budget further enhances NSW’s reputation as the best-run and most dynamic state economy in the country”.
“This is a smart budget, making NSW the envy of the world — for now,” Mr Metcalf said, but noted “the government is making some hard choices to prioritise frontline services and to invest in the infrastructure for the future, which means having to cut costs somewhere else”.
“The NSW government has been very strategic about its asset recycling program,” he said. “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 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.”
NSW Business Chamber chief Stephen Cartwright called the budget “a solid financial blueprint”. “For the fourth year in a row, net debt is in negative territory despite record infrastructure spending.”