Cash splash: Every adult to get $100 from govt
Every adult in the state will be given four separate $25 vouchers to spend on dining, entertainment and recreation in a massive stimulus measure at the heart of today's NSW budget.
The vouchers - which must be used separately and cannot be combined in a single transaction in order to drive even more spending - are designed to plough at least $500 million into the state's lagging economy.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will today hand down the most important state budget in a generation, posting a deficit worth tens of billions of dollars, but will chart a return to surplus by 2024-2025.
The central focus of the budget - which is built on a $25 billion revenue write down to GST, stamp duty and payroll tax over five years - will be spending for the sake of jobs and the economy.
"This is a Budget about recovery and reform - to forge a brighter future for our people. Our plan for a prosperous, post-pandemic NSW," Mr Perrottet said.
The vouchers - dubbed "Out & About vouchers" will be available digitally by early next year, with a short trial to be run in December in the CBD.
Two of the vouchers will be available for use in restaurants, cafes, clubs and other food service venues.
The other two vouchers are for entertainment activities such as cultural institutions, performing arts, cinemas and amusement parks.
Businesses must be registered as COVID safe to participate and the vouchers cannot be used on general retail or spend on alcohol, gambling and cigarettes.
If the amount spent is less than $25, the remainder will not be redeemable.
The idea is that the arrangements will encourage a greater spend than the value of the vouchers. The government is of the view a voucher program made more sense than cash handouts as cash could be saved.
"We want to encourage people to shop and spend with businesses multiple times, to get Out & About and support their local community safely," Mr Perrottet said.
"We want to encourage people to open up their wallets and contribute to the stimulus effect.
"The dining and entertainment industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and I would encourage people to utilise this scheme once it is up and running and to make sure they spend a bit extra on the way through too."
The vouchers will be administered on the Service NSW app. There is some consideration that the dining vouchers will only be available for use on non busy days, such as Monday to Thursday, but details are still being finalised.
Mr Perrottet said public spending was not a "permanent solution".
"We will generate momentum in the short term, then reinforce our finances with the discipline that has defined our time in office."
Businesses will also be assisted by a taxcut, with the payroll tax threshold increased from $1 million to $1.2 million.
The Daily Telegraph revealed this month one of the key savings measures in the budget was a limitation on public sector pay rises, which will be capped at 1.5 per cent.
The move will save the taxpayer about $1.8 billion.
Other significant savings measures include a plan to push ahead with the asset sale agenda, with money gained from sell offs, including the remaining stake in WestConnex, to be ploughed into new infrastructure.
The budget will drive money into infrastructure and the health system, increasing the state's infrastructure pipeline.
Other short-term construction stimulus programs will be announced, such as replacing lighting in schools
There is also a major commitment to community sport with a $100 million fund for local grounds to invest in upgrades and planning funding for Kogarah stadium.
Mr Perrottet believes his financial plan will see the state's unemployment level drop from a forecast 7.5 per cent to 5.25 per cent by 2024.
Bondi mum Yael Super, 44, said she would welcome any funding in the State budget for activities and recreation.
Her son Noah Minten-Super does surfing, skating and basketball lessons and Ms Super said the costs for parents can add up quickly.
"For me having a nine-year-old, the energy they need to expend means I can only entertain him for so much, I'd welcome any sort of support for recreational activities," she said.
Originally published as Cash splash: Every adult to get $100 from govt