NSW 2008 Mini-Budget: what it means for you

THE financial world's falling into disarray, and while global leaders are clambering for solutions to stop the economic fall-out; New South Wales is preparing themselves for the unveiling of the Treasurer's 2008 mini-Budget.

From all reports – Eric Roozendaal's first budget is challenging for everyday people, with many allowances like free bus travel for children; the back-to-school allowance and the $44 million fuel subsidy for Northern Rivers residents being scrapped.

The idea behind this mini-Budget is to try and fill the $1 billion hole that's put NSW into deficit, but from what's been shown in the news of late – all the expected government spending cuts won't make a big difference to help the state get out of the red.

The mini-Budget at a glance:

  • The mini-Budget brings an end to the 10-year electricity debate, with the three electricity retailers to be sold off. This will be in addition to the sale of development sites for power generators and the transfer of electricity trading functions to the private sector.
  • An extra $3000 is available for first home buyers who build a new home or buy a newly-constructed home over the next 12 months. As this is effective from today, it means grants of up to $24,000 are available for first home buyers.
  • Stamp duty exemptions for first home buyers under $50,000 will also remain in place.
  • A 2 per cent land tax on the unimproved value of land over $2.25 million will be introduced, but it won't affect a principal place of residence, or rural land. This measure will impact on the top 6 per cent of investors who pay land tax and is expected to raise $680 million over the next four years.
  • The $50 back-to-school payment for families has been scrapped, estimated to save about $60m a year. The Government plans to spend $20m of that on schools in disadvantaged areas and providing special needs education.
  • The Government will reform the $470 million school student travel scheme, with the introduction of an annual co-payment of $45 for primary school students and $90 for high school students. There'll be a cost cap of $180 per family with hardship provisions included.
  • The ambitious four-year capital works program outlined in this year's budget has been re-prioritised but the outlay remains largely unchanged, with $56.8 billion worth of infrastructure projects to be built, including 19 new school projects and 12 new TAFE projects ($246 million).
  • $150m will be used for school maintenance and minor capital works programs.
  • $209m will be invested into DOCS.
  • The $13.2bn health Budget will remain.
  • Investment of $2.7bn over the next four years for capital works has also been reserved, with $27m set aside for the Lismore Cancer Centre.
  • The $44m petrol subsidy on the Northern Rivers will be scrapped, and will be timed to coincide with the Queensland Government’s intention to restrict their subsidy scheme to Queensland residents only.
  • Greenslips will be increased by around $10, and will provide hospital and ambulance cover for at-fault drivers. This, in turn, should save the public health system $100m over the next four years.
  • Over $50bn will be spent on job-creating infrastructure which has been put in place to quarantine front line workers.
  • The Government shall soon announce substantial changes to certain public sector agencies and departments. This may see the mergers of back office functions of some Area Health Services, a restructure of the Department of Juvenile Justice and a rationalisation of some agencies.
  • There is also the possible sale or lease of assets including NSW Lotteries, its waste services, the Pillar Superannuation Administration Corporation, and the Roads and Traffic Authority's (RTA) personalised number plate business.

Current reports
Rees' mini-Budget costs Northern Rivers $300m
Mini-Budget 'lacks property stimulus'
Mini-Budget tourism spend 'to boost NSW'
Harbour tolls, CBD parking to cost more
Schools get an overhaul in mini-Budget
NSW announces $3.3b in budget cuts
NSW mini-Budget to reveal $1bn deficit

Where can I find more information?

The NSW Government's Treasury site has the full speech transcript as well as the document that was presented to Parliament. Visit www.treasury.nsw.gov.au and follow the main link to the 2008-09 Mini-Budget.

Want to know more?
$44m fuel subsidy scrapped for Northern NSW
Mini-budget will be tough: NSW Treasurer
NSW razor gang ready to strike in mini-budget
NSW still in defecit after mini-budget
No quick fix for NSW credit rating
NSW Health not told to cut $500m: Rees
Parents counting the cost of axed bus travel

Other government-related sites
NSW Parliament
NSW Government

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