NSW budget 2024-25 review
18 June, 2024

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Committee for Sydney

Statement / 18 June 2024

NSW budget 2024-25 review


The 2024/25 NSW Budget is as straightforward as budgets go – Treasurer Mookhey had made it clear he would deliver a budget focused on the government’s priorities: housing, housing, housing, and cost of living, and that’s what we’ve received.

The big headline is $5.1 billion for social housing, with half allocated to victim survivors of domestic and family violence. This investment will deliver more than 6,000 new homes.

To put this in perspective, this is enough to house two thirds of the NSW priority social housing waiting list. Of course, more is needed – Sydney and NSW are a long way behind practically every jurisdiction globally on social and affordable housing supply – but this is a major step forward.

Beyond this headline, we’re seeing a commitment to Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2, ongoing public transport projects, investments in the energy transition and climate change resilience and continued commitment to the government’s vibrancy agenda.

We’ve also seen interesting notes for what comes next – a Performance and Wellbeing Framework for NSW, a medium-term bus program, reform across the new Department of Creative Industries, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport, a Resilient and Reliable Water Supply program and financing support for developers to get houses off the ground quicker.

Perhaps the most glaring omission is funding for the economic transformation our city and state needs. While investments in health precincts alongside skills and training funding is welcome, the lack of strategy or funding for investment attraction and economic development is disappointing to see.

Looking at the budget through the lens of the Committee for Sydney’s priorities 


This is a big housing package, record-breaking in fact. With significant funding for Homes NSW to deliver and upgrade more social housing, Landcom to deliver key worker housing, funding for a Rental Taskforce, as well as the innovative financing guarantee pilot to help industry overcome challenging feasibility headwinds, this budget will boost the delivery on all kinds of housing supply.  

Kudos to the Treasurer and Minister Jackson for the $5.1 billion spend over the next four years to build 6,200 net new social homes (and 2,200 replacement homes).  It’s a huge, much needed increase from the $610 million set aside last year’s budget, and makes NSW the frontrunning state when it comes to social housing investment. But, considering Sydney faces the greatest housing affordability challenge in the country, this is where we should be placed. 

Putting the planned 6,200 homes in perspective, this represents just over 10% of the total 58,128 households on the social housing waiting list, and just over two-thirds (70%) of the priority waiting list. The funding also puts us about 1,000 homes ahead of where NSW’s total social housing stock was 10 years ago – no small feat considering approximately 5,249 social homes were lost over the same period.  

The question is whether this budget’s combination of record social and affordable housing spend will be enough to counterbalance the $10 billion Sydney’s chronic unaffordable housing is costing in productivity, talent in innovation. We think it’s a very strong foundation, but there is still room for more investment over the coming years. 

 Headline announcements:

  • $5.1 billion to deliver 8,400 social homes over the next four years, plus $810 million for critical maintenance and $202.6 million over four years to the Aboriginal Housing Office to support critical capital maintenance and $527.6 million support package for homelessness services 
  • $450 million for Landcom to acquire up to four new sites and build more than 400 new Build to Rent (BTR) dwellings for key workers in the next three years 
  • $253.7 million to pay for planners and technology to speed up the assessment of development applications 
  • $200 million for councils that meet or exceed their housing targets 
  • $8.4 million to establish a NSW Rental Taskforce that will deliver investigators, inspectors and support teams to engage with renters, target dodgy agents and act on rental law breaches 
  • Funding for a new pilot project that will examine how the state can more directly support the housing industry to secure finance, increase the viability of housing projects and speed up the construction of new homes 
  • $24 million to establish a NSW Building Commission to support high quality housing  
  • $20.4 million to deliver improvements to the NSW Planning Portal and $5.6m for an artificial intelligence pilot to deliver planning system efficiencies 
  • It’s also worth noting there’s $1.68 billion in forecast revenue over the next four years from increasing the foreign purchaser duty surcharge from 8% to 9%, and increasing the foreign owner land tax surcharge from 4% to 5%.  

 What should be done next: 

  • Given the challenging environment for the private sector when it comes to housing delivery, it’s important that government is chipping in to build their own share – and this budget is doing exactly that. Homes NSW is going to have their hands full over the next four years to deliver that number of homes. Landcom also has a lot on their plate.  
  • Minister Scully and his department have been incredibly busy over the last year moving mountains when it comes to planning regulatory reforms to aid Sydney’s housing crisis. The next step is the hardest – building the housing, and doing it well. We’ve seen some funding provided for infrastructure investment to support density done well in our new Transport Oriented Development communities and for councils that meet or exceed their housing targets – but much more will be needed. 
  • While the funding for the Rental Taskforce is a great step, the government must deliver on their election commitment to end no-grounds evictions in NSW. All the above solutions will go a long way in solving the housing crisis over time, but will take years to see results. Ending no-grounds evictions in full can materially improve renters’ lives for the better overnight.  


This budget is a continuation of the NSW Government’s direction of travel on climate and resilience. The big ticket items reflect ongoing multi-year funding allocations to accelerate regional renewable energy zones ($3.1 billion) and to continue repairs to disaster affected roads across the state ($3.3 billion).  

Critical infrastructure such as water and sewer infrastructure, and recycled water, receive some funding, but not enough to secure water-supply into the future. From an energy perspective, energy bill relief and funding towards social housing energy saving upgrades are welcome, yet $87.5m over four years will hardly move the needle on the 125,000 home social housing portfolio. 

It’s also heartening to see a $525 million investment in the Resilient Homes Program, which will undertake voluntary buybacks of homes at risk of flooding in the Northern Rivers – an issue we have identified will need to be grappled with in Western Sydney over years to come.  

Headline announcements: 

  • $ 5.7billion over four years for natural disaster support and response programs 
    • $3.3 million for repairing roads 
    • $282.7 million for the regional roads recovery package 
    • $525 million for Resilient Homes Program across the northern rivers and central west to support voluntary buybacks, and increase the flood resilience of existing homes 
    • $159.3 million from the infrastructure betterment fund to rebuild and improve the resilience of state and local infrastructure to natural disasters 
    • $116.7 million to repair critical water and sewerage infrastructure  
  • $435.4 million is allocated in 2024-25 for energy bill relief for up to 1 million NSW households. 
  • $238.9 million for the Consumer Energy Resources Strategy, which is currently under development, and is expected to target more energy efficient housing and enable more effective use of rooftop solar and battery storage across NSW. 
  • $87.5 million over four years will make energy saving upgrades to social housing properties.  

 What should be done next: 

  • There is some evidence that a 1 November start date to the home battery program has led to battery sales coming to an abrupt halt. The NSW Government should consider bringing forward the start date of the Battery program to 1 July to avoid a four month stop to battery sales.
  • Government should raise its ambition by electrifying the social housing portfolio and replacing all gas use with electricity in hospitals, schools, public housing and public commercial buildings across Sydney and NSW. 
  • Lessons learned from the Lismore Resilient Homes Program need to be captured and applied to other areas of natural hazard risk across NSW. 


While there is nothing overly surprising in this budget for transport and infrastructure, there is a signalling of a slow shift in favour of sustainable transport – despite a significant share of the budget still for roads. This is partly due to the government’s priorities, but also a result of reduced federal funding for roads. 

The major new project announced is funding for the construction of Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2, another significant public transport project for Sydney. $2.1 billion has been allocated to construct the line and stations.  

While we see a shift towards sustainable transport, there remains a dire lack of dedicated funding for active transport projects in Sydney and NSW. The $120 million for active transport pales in comparison to the tens of billions being spent on public transport and roads. 

The most significant infrastructure spend in this budget goes towards Sydney Metro, with more than $20 billion – almost a third of the total budget for transport and infrastructure – slated to continue building committed lines.  

This budget has more for funding for buses compared to previous budgets. However, the increase is not nearly enough to address the severe inequality of access to public transport across Sydney. The $24.7 million to increase bus services in Western Sydney is less than one of the cheapest road projects in the budget.  

Disappointingly, yet unsurprisingly, total funding for roads remains one of the biggest budget line items – representing almost a third of the transport and infrastructure spend. We are, however, pleased that no new road or motorway projects have been announced as part of this budget.  

Headline announcements:

  • $13.4 billion for Sydney Metro West 
  • $5.5 billion for Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport 
  • $4.2 billion over four years for Western Sydney Harbour Tunnel Upgrade 
  • $2.1 billion for the construction of Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 
  • $1.9 billion for Zero Emissions Buses Program 
  • $1.3 billion for roads connecting the new International Airport and Bradfield  
  • $1.2 billion for Sydney Metro City and Southwest 

 What should be done next: 

  • Substantially increase dedicated spending on active transport infrastructure. 
  • Commit to and fund a whole-of-network business case for Rapid Buses in Sydney. 
  • Reallocate some of the roads funding to significantly increase bus infrastructure and service kilometre funding – to increase frequency and reliability of buses.  
  • Commit to and fund a business case for active and public transport improvements along Parramatta Road – such as bike paths and light rail. 


This budget comes at a critical time for the state’s cultural life, with sport and creative culture facing severe post-covid impacts. Creative producers, priced out of residential and work spaces, face audiences with less to spend due to their own cost of living pressures.  

Interest in sport is at an all-time high, with major shortfalls in facilities and their carrying capacity limiting the city’s ability to cater to would-be players. Both are key to delivering good places to live, and the social license required to continue delivering the state’s priority housing projects.  

Kudos is due to Minister Graham for the state’s first creative sector strategy, Creative Communities, and ongoing budget commitments for music, film and gaming, community culture organisations, nightlife and major events. The rebadged WestInvest fund continues to roll out, delivering creative culture and sporting infrastructure that will shift the needle in communities where investment is made. 

There is far more work to be done, and while big changes have been flagged, we are yet to see investment to match the aspiration. However, we are encouraged by plans for governance and regulatory reform, including new 24-Hour Economy and Visitor Economy strategies, reforms to arts and culture funding, a new round of vibrancy reforms, and bringing key government teams under the one departmental umbrella, which have the potential to unlock private sector investment alongside government spending. 

Headline announcements:

  • $324.5 million for metro and regional events calendar, including Vivid Sydney, SXSW Sydney and a range of sport events, and a refreshed Visitor Economy Strategy 2030  
  • $73 million to support grassroots and community arts organisations  
  • $35 million for the Made in NSW film and gaming fund, and ongoing investment in the post-production and visual effects rebate scheme   
  • $26.9 million for great night-time precincts across the state and the delivery of the refreshed 24 Hour Economy Strategy 
  • $18.5 million for Sound NSW to deliver programs that drive audience and international market development, strengthen the live music industry and champion NSW artists. 
  • Key cultural and sporting infrastructure investments include:  
    • Arts and culture investments: $114.39 million for Art Gallery of NSW, $79 million for new theatres, galleries and studios at Campbelltown Arts Centre, $10.5 million for Darlinghurst’s Qtopia, $10 million for Campsie’s new arts and culture precinct, $3.5 million for Wollondilly Community Cultural and Civic Performing Arts Centre, and $2.5 million to preserve unique cultural objects at the Australian Museum.   
    • Major multi-sports facility commitments: $53.7 million for Smithfield’s Hyland Road sport complex, $21.3 million for the Scalabrini East project, $16 million for Fairfield’s Endeavour Sports Park project and $9.8 million for Richmond’s Tamplin Field redevelopment (both to have synthetic fields), $7 million for Pendle Hill’s Civic Park upgrade, $5.2 million for Warragamba’s Waterboard Oval, and $4.2 million for Canley Vale community park.   
    • Single sport facility commitments: $30.3 million for Richmond Swimming Centre and $14.6 million for Guildford Pool, $17.7 million to upgrade Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink, $15 million to convert Dural’s Horseworld into an indoor recreation centre, and $3.5 million for Blue Mountains’ Pitt Park athletics complex.  
    • Mixed sport and culture facility commitments: $28 million for Fairfield Showground stage 2, $23.9 million for North Richmond community precinct, and $11.5  for Castle Hill Showground Arena. 

What should be done next: 

  • Strategic planning of creative and sports infrastructure in places of current and future population growth to prioritise investment and support private sector actors – this budget’s commitments are welcome, much more is needed. 
  • Continued planning reforms to support creative production, retail and performance, shifting the onus to a more permissive and encouraging environment for the creative sector  
  • Using upcoming strategy development in the 24-Hour Economy, Visitor Economy and music sector to give culture the space and prominence it needs to help reinvigorate the city and state   
  • Programs to improve conditions and career pathways for creatives and skilled staff.  


This is the second state budget in a row that is light on investment in Sydney’s economy and clarity on its future direction. Many of the infrastructure and program investments are a continuation of previous years and do little to set a clear vision for the future of Sydney’s and NSW’s economy. 

There is continued support for already committed hospital and research infrastructure projects that will underpin Sydney’s innovation district network but limited insight into a vision for the future of the economy. Hospital investment is not just critical to the ongoing delivery of essential services to the people of Sydney, they are significant assets in Sydney’s innovation ecosystem. 

The budget has limited alignment with net zero focused national industry strategy announced by the Commonwealth in its May budget beyond investment in Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) transmission and associated infrastructure. Sydney and NSW can and will play in sectors such as manufacturing, engineering and research in Australia’s clean energy transformation, but this is not clear in program commitments.  

The budget does signal that NSW will explore the local manufacturing of future train fleets, while allocating $441 million to extending the life of the existing Tangara fleet for an additional 12 to 15 years, however, clarity in what the investment in the train manufacturing sector looks like is lacking and how this will be done in a coordinated way with other states. 

The budget should be commended for recognising the importance of trades and vocational education and training – reflected in a significant investment of $2.5 billion into the TAFE NSW system. This educational pathway is essential for NSW to ensure the future pipeline of skills in sectors as diverse as construction, manufacturing and care and for Sydney to ensure there is a pipeline of skilled tradespeople to deliver housing for Sydney. 

Headline announcements: 

  • $2.5 billion investment in TAFE NSW – critical for skills needed in construction, advanced manufacturing, care sector 
  • Continued investment in health and research infrastructure anchoring many of Sydney’s Innovation Districts and Health Precincts: 
    • $940 million for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Redevelopment 
    • $780 million for Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct 
    • $658 million for Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick – Stage 1 Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre 
    • $619 million for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Stage 2 Redevelopment and $540 million for an Integrated Mental Health Complex at Westmead 
    • $150 million Sydney Biomedical Accelerator 
    • $76.8 million Ribonucleic RNA Pilot Manufacturing facility in partnership with all universities across NSW and the ACT
    • The budget also recommits significant investment across a number of other hospitals in Sydney  
  • Continued support for Global NSW Strategy to present NSW on the global stage through ongoing investment in offshore network and international offices  

What should be done next 

  • Invest in a state-wide economic development and investment strategy. While the NSW Government is currently undertaking its Innovation Blueprint, the budget contains limited investments in NSW’s innovation ecosystem beyond already announced hospital expansions 
  • Provide clarity regarding the role that government will play in advancing priority sectors and growing local business capacity through procurement 


The record-breaking $5.1 billion social housing is the biggest investment in this year’s budget that will improve equity and fairness in Sydney, along with the previously announced $245.6 million package to enhance support for domestic, family and sexual violence victim survivors. The government is also framing its housing announcements as a key win for gender equality.  

When it comes to the way the budget is put together, the proposed NSW Performance and Wellbeing Framework is an exciting step. It proposes eight wellbeing themes – healthy, skilled, prosperous, housed, secure, community, connected and sustainable – along with 28 outcomes. It’s also great to see gender responsive budgeting being trialled to further promote gender equity across all spending, and the commitment that gender impact assessments will be integrated further into the budget process over time.  

Headline announcements:  

  • $245.6 million emergency package for people fleeing domestic violence announced last month 
  • $130.9 million Family Start Package including a $6.5 million to support the delivery of a new Karitane Fairfield Integrate Child and Family Hub. This will be a ‘one stop shop’ for families to access wide range of family support services to ensure their children get the best start in life and service families in Sydney’s west and southwest.  

What should be done next: 

  • More can be done in terms of gender equality and funding. This budget does not fund any improvements that seek to reduce sexual violence and harassment in public spaces, there’s also more to do when it comes to boosting women’s representation in underrepresented sectors, such as women in innovation districts.  
  • Despite the progress being made above, one of the most disheartening budget-line items was the forecast $2.5 billion in pokies tax revenue in 2024-25 alone, growing by $440 million to 2027/28. There are strong correlations between pokies and low income communities, and between pokies and acts of domestic violence. While the government is boosting gambling harm reduction by $10 million, this pales in significance to revenue pokies generate for NSW. We want to see ongoing pokies reforms to reduce this harm.