NSW resting on its laurels with approach to state finances

13 December 2016

NSW Greens MP and Treasury spokesperson Justin Field has accused to the NSW Government of resting on its laurels when it comes to the state’s finances leaving many to wonder whose NSW is it. The statement follow the release of the mid-year budget update which included headlines focused on record growth, low unemployment and a successful asset recycling scheme.

Mr Field said, “I don’t want to ruin the Christmas cheer but economic growth and unemployment figures are masking the impacts of growing inequality and a two speed economy in NSW that sees many regional communities being left behind.

“Asset recycling is political spin for privatising the state’s assets and the sale of essential services like the electricity networks, land titles service and potential future privatisations of hospitals. These sell-offs are masking the fact that the Government doesn’t have a plan for the state after they have finished selling off the crown jewels.

“I’m asking whose state is it when some of the big changes in the mid-year update are $40 million for a Rugby League Centre for Excellence and $11 million to turn the historic end of Newcastle into a V8 Super Car race track.

“At the same time the Coalition government continues to “explore” the possibility of selling off our great Sport & Recreation centres – the places that are there for all of us. They add insult to injury when they justify selling the world best land titles service to fund new sports stadiums.

“This ‘bread and circuses’ approach only works while there is something to sell but when the cupboard is bare it is the broader community who will face increased costs and reduced services. We need a different approach to address inequality and to build a fairer society, not just a better facilities for professional football players and sports car drivers.

Last month’s Labor Force statistics showed unemployment of young people was growing with as many as 20% of young people on the South Coast not in work or school. The 4.9% unemployment figure quoted by the Treasurer means little to the 2,500 young people without employment or training options in the Shoalhaven.

Nor does it mean a great deal to the over 500,00  people in our community who are underemployed or under-employed who want to know what the Coalition is doing for them and their families.

The Treasurer certainly has nothing to say to them in this mid-year review.

“Nor are housing approvals a good indicator of housing affordability and the state has almost stopped building public housing to support those most vulnerable in our state.

“We know that wages growth has all but stopped so anything other than reduction in house prices cannot hope to improve “housing affordability”. This is simply spin from the Treasurer and the NSW Government should get behind the Planning Minister’s calls for changes to negative gearing at the federal level which will do more to support younger people into their first homes.”

“It’s long past time we looked at other measures of success and ensured that equality and delivery of services became a critical measure in budget assessments.

“Investing in growth is not a bad thing if it is the right growth and that includes long-term job creating investment in educating and training, and supporting new industries like renewable energy and advanced manufacturing, and ensuring essential services are available to all who need them,” Mr Field said.

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