Media Release
NSW Budget: Modest cuts, a downpayment on ambitions
19 September, 2023

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Matt Levinson

Treasurer Mookhey has made it clear since coming to government in March this would be a tough budget in the face of significant fiscal constraints and clear election commitments requiring new funding.

Eamon Waterford, CEO of the Committee for Sydney:

“The majority of changes in this budget are aimed at two objectives: reducing deficits and delivering on election commitments. On these two fronts, the government has delivered.

“To achieve these objectives, the budget isn’t as ruthless as expected, with cuts being modest in comparison with the Treasurer’s rhetoric.

“The other side of the coin is this budget is also modest in providing downpayments on critical challenges for the state.

“The investment in housing is modest – at a time when chronic unaffordable housing is costing Sydney $10 billion a year, this budget is unlikely to make material inroads on this challenge.

“The budget makes a significant investment in the energy transition effort, which will put our target of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 back on track.

“The good news is the NSW Government gets two more chances in the next nine months to make further investments in these areas – it’s likely this budget is aiming to set the government up for a more proactive mid-year review and second-year budget in June 2024.

Budget at a glance

The good:

  • $1.8bn investment in the energy transition, including $1bn for the Energy Security Corporation which will invest in critical areas like community batteries
  • $3.6bn investment in payrises for essential service workers and continued investment in early childhood education and care will help deliver better equity for our city
  • Continued investment in public and active transport infrastructure, including almost $25bn for Metro, an additional $200m for Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2, an additional $60m for active transport, $300m for rapid bus transit to Western Sydney Airport, and $300m to make stations accessible and safe.

The ‘more to do, but heading in the right direction’:

  • Investment in government-led housing, including $300m for Landcom to deliver almost 5000 affordable and private homes over the next 16 years
  • $300m for Sydney from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver enabling infrastructure and unlock housing supply.

The bad:

  • The budget confirms the $600m Toll Cap program will be used by 700,000 people across Sydney, which will increase traffic without delivering a clear economic benefit, while not being targeted to those that most need cost of living relief.