Record $2.1b surplus expected in NSW budget
TREASURER Gladys Berejiklian is expected to announce a record $2.1 billion surplus in tomorrow's NSW Budget, helped along by more than a billion dollars in cutbacks.
An unprecedented $68 billion has been set aside for infrastructure projects over the next four years - up from $60 billion projected at last year's budget.
The huge spend does not include the $20 billion the government says it will get through the pending long-term lease of the state's poles and wires electrical grid assets.
Premier Mike Baird has vowed to tackle skyrocketing home prices in Sydney with a $400 million commitment to the government's housing acceleration fund.
He said it would help would-be home owners build at least 161,000 new dwellings across 1200ha of land, doubling the amount created since 2012.
"We have increased housing supply to the highest levels in two decades - and we're delivering the vital infrastructure needed to support this new housing."
But Opposition Leader Luke Foley said the investment was a drop in the ocean compared to the billions of dollars the government will collect from stamp duty taxes this year alone.
"To return a meagre 6%of stamp duty taxes collected into housing affordability is an insult to first home buyers across the state struggling to find a house," he said.
"It's a sad state of affairs when those who serve our state day in and day out can't become home owners because they simply can't afford it."
Hospitals have been promised $1.4 billions for renovations and upgrades, with another $25 million pegged for medical research.
Justice Minister Troy Grant has announced $1.2 billion for prison upgrades and expansion, including the construction of a new 600-bed jail in Grafton by 2019.
The centre will employ about 200 prison officers.
Independent and Catholic schools whose budgets were slashed in 2012 will have their current funding doubled, with an extra $50 million set aside to build new classrooms and facilities.
A spike in the number of children being removed from abusive families has prompted a $200 million boost to out-of-home or foster care.
The spending will come at a price, with $1.1 billion in cuts and savings expected to be bundled into the budget.