2021-2022 New South Wales State Budget Delivered

Quotes

‘A Budget to keep NSW safe and accelerate our recovery, invest in families and their future, and transform our state’    

Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP, NSW Treasurer

‘The budget figures and the budget result are built on the back of working families. There’s virtually nothing, just a paltry amount going back into their pockets, they’re the ones being sent the COVID bill.’   

Chris Minns MP, NSW Opposition Leader

‘We should have seen a substantial investment in new social and affordable housing to provide the most vulnerable in our community safety, security and the chance of a decent life’

Joanna Quilty, NSW Council of Social Service CEO

The 2021-2022 NSW State Budget was handed down on Tuesday, 22nd June 2021 by New South Wales Treasurer, the Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP.

OTA has prepared a summary of those budget measures most relevant to occupational therapists.

The Bottom Line

A stronger than expected post pandemic recovery has enabled the NSW Coalition Government to bring down a much healthier state budget than generally expected.

Noting that economic activity now exceeded pre-pandemic levels, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced significant rebounds in such key indicators as household expenditure, business confidence and employment.

As a result of this recovery, and in particular a booming property market and a sharp rise in the stamp duty take, the Berejiklian Government is on track to restore the Budget to surplus by 2025.

Unemployment forecasts have been revised downward, and it is now expected to fall to 4.5% by 2025.

While debt was forecast to reach $104 billion by 2023-24, that number has now been cut to $94.3 billion. The Budget deficit, originally forecast to reach $16 billion in 2020-21, has been halved to $7.8 billion. It will, however, increase to $8.6 billion next year as further stimulus measures are implemented. Efforts to curb spending over the next few years are designed to return the Budget to a surplus of $466 million in 2024-25.

The better than expected numbers have enabled the Government to announce a range of big ticket items, notably a $500 million commitment to electric vehicles, a $2.7 billion increase in public sector salaries, and a $3.3 billion construction program.

Health and Hospitals

The 2021-2022 NSW Budget includes a $27.1 billion spend on health services, the biggest expenditure item in the Budget. An additional $1.1 billion has been committed to keep NSW COVID safe, with a focus on personal protective equipment, pop up clinics, contact tracing, vaccine distribution and enhanced cleaning within health facilities.

A further $10.8 billion will be spent on health infrastructure over 4 years, with $3.1 billion of this being spent in 2021-2022 to continue and commence around 110 health capital projects across 18 metropolitan hospitals, 28 regional hospitals and other health facilities.

Investment in new projects over the next 4 years include:

  • $1.3 billion for the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital and Community Health Services Redevelopment;
  • $479 million for Ryde Hospital Redevelopment to increase capacity, improve the patient experience and provide new models of care in a technologically innovative healthcare facility;
  • $300 million for the Rouse Hill Health Service to support the health needs of the growing population in the North West of Sydney;
  • $165 million Goulburn Hospital redevelopment for the construction of a new four storey clinical services building to consolidate and integrate most services in the one location;
  • $80 million Moree Hospital redevelopment for the construction of a culturally welcoming, contemporary health facility that will deliver better health outcomes for the Northern Tablelands community;
  • $53 million for Gunnedah Hospital to deliver a contemporary health facility and environment for patients and improve the ability to attract and retain an experienced healthcare workforce in the North West Slopes region of NSW;
  • $45 million for Muswellbrook Hospital Stage 3 to complete the hospital’s redevelopment, co-locating all acute clinical services in one building and providing contemporary health facilities for patients and staff in the Upper Hunter; and
  • $30 million for Wentworth Hospital, in the far South West of NSW. This will be a greenfield site that will support the delivery of care closer to home, reducing the need for residents to travel.

Continuing investment in current projects include:

  • $1.0 billion for Nepean Hospital Redevelopment Stages 1 and 2. This redevelopment, is being fast-tracked by the Government, to improve access to health services for people in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains;
  • $835 million for the John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct;
  • $750 million for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Redevelopment, including more adult inpatient beds, an expanded emergency department, intensive care unit, medical imaging services, operating theatres and maternity, birthing and neonatal services;
  • $740 million for the Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct to increase capacity of the hospital to meet future population growth for South Western Sydney;
  • $698.6 million for New Shellharbour Hospital and Integrated Services. A greenfield site to provide greater accessibility and clinical service capacity to meet future demand for health services in the Illawarra region including enhanced rehabilitation, mental health, aged care and palliative care services;
  • $673.3 million for the Tweed Hospital and Integrated Ambulatory Services Redevelopment to increase capacity and provide greater health service capability closer to home for the growing Tweed-Byron community;
  •  $658 million for Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick – Stage 1 Comprehensive Children’s Cancer Centre and Neurosciences Comprehensive Care and Research Centre which will establish Australia’s first Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre;
  • $632 million for Campbelltown Hospital Redevelopment Stage 2, Mental Health and South West Paediatric Service;
  • $619 million for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Stage 2 Redevelopment;
  • $438 million for Shoalhaven Hospital Redevelopment with significant expansion of the ambulatory care precinct, surgical beds and operating suites, medical wards including aged care, increased emergency capacity, enhanced medical imaging, pathology and support facilities;
  • $385 million for St George Hospital – Ambulatory Care, Day Surgery, Sub-Acute Inpatient Building, bringing together a range of ambulatory, outpatient and community services; and
  • $250 million for Griffith Hospital Redevelopment, including a new four bed Mental Health Short Stay Unit integrated into the Medical Inpatient Unit for short term care for people over 16 years.

Digital Health initiatives will see an investment of over $500 million in the next four years to enhance care coordination across hospital and care settings including Virtual Care, Telehealth, Single Digital Patient Record project and the Health Cyber Uplift Program to remove vulnerabilities and protect sensitive health information.

Further announcements in the 2021 -2022 Budget for NSW health services over the next four years, include:

  • $21.7 million (Commonwealth and NSW Government) for the NSW Telestroke Service to provide 24/7 access to specialist clinical advice for acute ischaemic stroke patients in regional and rural NSW;
  • $82.8 million to continue strengthening palliative care services, including improving community based care, enhanced inpatient palliative care services in Western Sydney and enhancements to the specialist palliative care workforce to regional and rural NSW; and
  • $8.6 million to support community care for people with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, by funding specialist nurses and allied health staff in 15 Local Health Districts, as well as $650,000 to support the valuable work of Parkinson’s NSW including the InfoLine service.

Mental Health

The Berejiklian Government will continue to invest in infrastructure for mental health services as part of the $700m Statewide Mental Health Infrastructure program announced in 2018-19 Budget.  New and continuing works in 2021-22 include:

  • Nolan House redevelopment into a new co-designed, expanded acute mental healthcare unit on the Albury Hospital campus of Albury Wodonga Health;
  • Construction commencement of the new expanded Banksia Mental Health Unit at Tamworth Hospital;
  • Two dedicated, purpose-built, stand-alone, Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) at the Royal Prince Alfred and Westmead hospitals; and
  • Two specialist mental health care units (a specialised Older Persons Unit and a Civil Secure Unit) as part of the Campbelltown Hospital redevelopment.

In addition to infrastructure investment, new funding was announced in the Budget of $109.5 million over four years to develop 25 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Crisis Teams (‘Safeguards’) across NSW to provide support services to children and adolescents with moderate to severe mental health issues and their families /carers.

Funding of $25.8 million has also been allocated in the 2021-2022 Budget to continue the co-responder program, PACER, involving Police, Ambulance and Clinical Early Response teams working collaboratively when responding to mental health situations.

In a boost for regional and rural NSW, an investment will be made of $36.4 million over four years for 57 mental health Response and Recovery Specialists to provide assertive outreach support for communities and coordination with local services at the time of disaster or crisis and during the ongoing recovery phase.

Housing

The 2021-2022 NSW State Budget has seen investments in new and upgraded social and affordable housing to provide housing to some of the most vulnerable members of the community and support the Premier’s Priority to reduce street homelessness across New South Wales by 50 per cent by 2025.

Initiatives include:

  • Over $360 million in 2021-2022 for the maintenance, upgrade and supply of social housing through the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (AHC) and Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO). This new funding is in addition to funds already spent in 2020 – 2021 and will see more than 800 new homes delivered and upgrades to a further 16,500;
  • $52.4 million in 2021-22 towards the Aboriginal Community Housing Investment Fund;
  • $57 million over 2 years to build on the Together Home Program to assist rough sleepers or vulnerable individuals into accommodation; and
  • The $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) will continue to provide social and affordable housing such as the recently completed St George Community Housing 160-unit complex at Redfern.

Families

The Berejiklian Government will end the wage cap for NSW government employees with an increase of up to 2.5 per cent for agreements due to be renewed from 1st July 2021.  New leave arrangements will become available in 2021-2022 for public employees, for women who experience a premature birth or suffer the tragedy of a miscarriage or still birth.

Social and Community Support Programs will have $160 million provided in this Budget and $12.2 million will fund ‘Tresilian’ to provide a series of support measures to families experiencing difficulties in the critical first years of their child’s life, including six Regional Family Care Centres, five ‘Tresillian 2U’ vans, and staffing for the Macksville residential unit.

Over the next four years the following investments will be made to support women, youth and families:

  • $33.9 million for specialist domestic violence case management statewide to ensure victims of domestic and family violence are afforded the option to stay home safely (through the Staying Home, Leaving Violence program) with a further investment in front-line family, domestic and sexual violence service providers across New South Wales; and
  • $30 million for social impact investments with a focus on women facing disadvantage and Indigenous youth.

Announcements in the 2021-2022 Budget provide more than $6 billion in new and existing rebates, concessions and cost of living measures designed to lower the cost of living and encourage involvement in activities to support participation and development. Initiatives include energy rebates, seniors and student transport schemes, toll relief, continuation of funding for free pre-school program and vouchers for children to participate in creative, active and learn to swim activities.

Aboriginal communities

The following commitments to support the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal communities were outlined in the 2021-2022 State Budget:

  • $43.7 million to deliver targeted health services through the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector, especially in regional NSW;
  • $11.6 million over 2 years for the extension of the Services Our Way program, providing on the ground practical support and skill development for Aboriginal people and families with complex needs;
  • $185 million on targeted education to increase learning potential of Aboriginal children; and
  • Investment in housing support for Aboriginal community as outlined above.

Aged Care

The 2021-2022 State Budget did not allocate any specific funding for aged care services with the exception of some of the upgrades to health facilities infrastructure having a focus on hospital and outpatient services for seniors.

Education

The 2021-2022 State Budget makes an infrastructure investment of $2.1 billion over the next four years for 44 new and upgraded schools. A further $196.6 million investment will facilitate curriculum reform aimed at improving student performance and enhance future employment outcomes. and $24.6 million will support implementation of the Gonski Shergold Review recommendations.

Small Business

The Berejiklian Government is committed to supporting small business, with the following announcements:

  • Continuation of the NSW Government’s Scheme in which eligible small businesses can claim $1500 in rebates against eligible government fees and charges until June 2022;
  • $20 million in 2021-22 for the Business Concierge service, providing small business operators with personalised support through Service NSW; and
  • $9.8 million in 2021-22 to continue Business Connect program, providing professional small business advice to small business across NSW.

 

 

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