2019-20 NSW Budget Delivered

On Tuesday 18 June the 2019-20 New South Wales budget was delivered by the Treasurer the Hon. Dominic Perrottet.

OTA has summarised the key budget measures we think will be of interest to occupational therapists. Click on any of the links below to go straight to the areas of interest to you:

Budget Overview

The NSW Liberal government, fresh from its re-election to a third term in office, has again delivered a budget with a heavy focus on infrastructure spending. 

The budget’s key features are a record $93 billion dollar spend on infrastructure and a surplus of $1.7 billion.

Key transport infrastructure initiatives include Sydney Metro City and Southwest, Sydney Metro West and North South Metro Stage 1.

While much of the infrastructure spend is transport related, schools and hospitals also feature.

An increase in frontline personnel includes 4,600 extra teachers, 8,300 health staff (with 45% going to regional NSW) and 1,500 extra police.

The new health staff includes:

  • 5,000 nurses and midwives;
  • 1,060 medical staff (doctors, psychiatrists and specialists) to enhance response times for patients waiting in emergency departments, or for elective surgery and psychiatric care;
  • 880 allied health staff including occupational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, physiotherapists and psychologists; and
  • 1,360 hospital support staff

Forecast growth for NSW is below trend at 2.25% and financial headwinds include a reduction in GST revenue of $2.2 billion over the four years to 2021-22.

Transfer duty has a further write down of $232 million over the four years to 2012-22, on top of the $10 billion already written down since the 2017-18 budget.

Health and Hospitals

There is $2.7 billion in allocated capital expenditure for health in 2019-20 and over $10 billion will be spent over 4 years to upgrade and/or build 29 hospitals and health facility projects.

New hospitals will be built at – Tweed, Maitland, Macksville and Mudgee and works will commence at Bankstown-Lidcombe and Eurobodalla.

Hospital upgrades will be completed at Blacktown/Mt Druitt, Concord, Dubbo, Manning, Nepean, Wagga Wagga, Westmead and Wyong.

Hospital upgrades will commence at Ryde, Shoalhaven and St George.

Additional funding of $76 million over four years is being provided for an additional 8,000 paediatric and 10,000 cataract surgeries over the next four years.

Funding of $70 million over four years will allow for 35 new free mobile dental clinics, allowing access to dental checks and basic dental care for up to 136,000 primary school children in Western Sydney, Mid North Coast and Central coast each year.

$42 million over four years will provide women with greater choice around IVF services and a partnership with UNSW for the first state-wide fertility preservation service for young cancer patients at the Royal Hospital for Women.

$45 million over four years for palliative care for 100 palliative care nurses, Aboriginal health workers, digital health solutions and the refurbishment of existing facilities.

Mental Health

As part of the $700 million state-wide Mental Health Infrastructure Program, the Government will begin planning in 2019-20 to deliver specialised beds for mothers and their babies in a public hospital setting, allowing new mothers who need a hospital admission for their mental health care, to stay with their baby. This includes:

  • a new mother and baby unit each at Westmead and Royal Prince Alfred Hospitals; and
  • a new child and adolescent mental health unit at Nepean Hospital.

Funding of $23.5 million over four years will expand the capacity of Lifeline and Kids Helpline.

$19.7 million in 2019-20 will support implementation of key initiatives to address suicide rates in New South Wales. The funding will support a range of initiatives targeted at providing communities with the most effective tools to prevent and respond to suicide.

$3 million over four years will be provided to the Gidget Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, to expand its work to stop maternal suicide, by identifying, diagnosing and treating perinatal depression and anxiety among mothers and fathers.

$8.28 million has been allocated for drought related mental health initiatives to help farmers. 

Mental health in schools is receiving funding for an additional 100 school counsellors or psychologists and 350 student support officers as well as dedicated services for rural and remote students.

Disability

The NSW Government’s commitment to support the NDIS in 2019-20 is $3.3 billion, which includes a $2.9 billion cash contribution.

Other funding includes:

  • $13.9 million over four years to establish the Ageing and Disability Commissioner;
  • $173 million over four years to continue the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme and the Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Driver Incentive Scheme;
  • $2 million over four years to Vision Australia through the State Library of NSW to enable the provision of expanded services and a greater selection of audio and braille books;
  • $11.6 million will go to Ability Links for another 12 months connecting people with disability to mainstream and community services and supports;
  • $4.4 million will go to continue the roll out of specialist intellectual disability heath hubs announced in last year’s budget; and
  • $15 million over five years has been allocated to support research associated with spinal cord injuries.

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