2022-23 NSW Budget Delivered

New South Wales Treasurer Mr Matt Kean MP handed down his first budget, the 2022-2023 NSW State Budget on Tuesday 21st June 2022, with a focus on both the practical and strategic.  

The NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet noted that “With this budget, the NSW Government sets out a transformational roadmap for the decade ahead, delivering not just for our people today but for generations to come”

OTA has prepared a summary of those budget measures most relevant to occupational therapists, click on the headings below for quick access.

The full NSW Budget 2022-2023 papers are available at  https://www.budget.nsw.gov.au/budget-papers

Health and Hospitals

The 2022-2023 Budget sees a record $33 billion investment in the state’s health system, of this $30 billion is recurrent funding with a further $2.8 billion for capital works to build and redevelop NSW hospitals including at Rouse Hill, Liverpool and the Westmead Redevelopment. 

A further $4.5 million is to be invested in the NSW Health Workforce over the next 5 years as part of a workforce boost initiative to employ an additional 10,148 full time equivalent staff across a range of areas including nurses, allied health professionals, doctors and support staff as well as the NSW Ambulance Service which will recruit 2128 of the total.

Other key healthcare investments include:

  • An additional $961.4 million for the continuing costs associated with the ongoing management of COVID-19
  • Improving palliative access, treatments and workforce with an investment of $743 million to increase the number of palliative care beds and associated workforce.  Of this, $90 million will be for new dedicated palliative care units at Westmead and Nepean Hospitals. 
  • $400 million to fast-track elective surgeries delayed due to COVID-19
  • $776 million for Health Service resilience programs
  • Frontline health workers will receive a one-off $3,000 “thankyou” payment for their work during the pandemic
  • Public sector wage cap has been lifted to 3 per cent , with a further 0.5 percent increase next year on offer

Regional Health

The 2022-2023 Budget sees a significant commitment to drive attracting and retaining the regional health workforce and supporting consumer access to care.

Initiatives include:

  • $2.4 billion over 10 years to increase the regional workforce with strategies to address the future pipeline of healthcare workers including:
    • Increasing health training positions locally in rural areas
    • Supporting professional development of the rural workforce
    • Providing recruitment and retention incentives to support sustainable workforce supply
    • Establishing a Regional Concierge Service to support key workers in making the decision to work in regional areas
  • $149.5 million to boost patient travel and accommodation assistance to support access to timely healthcare and reduce out of pocket expenses
  • A customer-centric and geographically based regional health directory with $3 million allocated to its development

Mental Health

The Perrottet government has committed to continuing to invest in the mental health of NSW residents through infrastructure and service investments.

Key investments include:

  • $130 million for Mental Health and Wellbeing package to provide ongoing COVID recovery support
  • Suicide prevention will receive an investment of $143 million
  • $5.2 million has been allocated to extend support for post-natal mental health services delivered by not-for-profit organisations.
  • The Statewide Community and Court Liaison Service will be expanded to an additional 36 local courts with funding of $13.5 million.  This service provides people with serious mental illness charged with low-level offences access to necessary treatment and care from Local Health District Mental Health Services as an alternative to custody
  • Infrastructure investment of $360 million for an Integrated Mental Health Complex at Westmead

Education

The Perrottet Government has made significant commitments to education including future access for all children to a year of pre-kindergarten, alongside substantial infrastructure investments.

Key initiatives included in the budget are outlined below:

  • $5.8 billion over 10 years towards the establishment of universal pre-kindergarten for all children in the year before school by 2030
  • Provision of development checks in preschools, delivered jointly by the Department of Education and Ministry of Health utilising an investment of $111 million
  • $1.6 billion to deliver 23 new and upgraded school projects and additional funding for minor worksSchools in Albury, Lennox Head, Concord and Rouse Hill will be of specific focus.
  • WestInvest providing $478 million to support the modernisation of schools in Western Sydney. The program of works will deliver a broad range of capital investment to renew existing school assets and provide additional teaching spaces.
  • $193 million to support parents with the cost of school supplies with each school enrolled child being eligible for a $150 subsidy

Housing

The Budget sees investments in new and upgraded social and affordable housing to provide housing to some of the most vulnerable members of the community.  Additionally housing for key workers in regional and remote areas of the State is identified as a priority.

Initiatives include:

  • $120 million for regional areas, to co-fund critical housing-enabling infrastructure
  • Maintenance and upgrades to more than 15,800 social housing properties with a commitment of $300 million which will extend the life of social homes and ensue tenants have safe accommodation
  • $37 million towards supporting the Community Housing Sector to deliver 120 social housing dwellings for households in the Together Home program.
  •  $174 million for 271 new homes for key workers in regional and remote New South Wales

Families

A key focus of the 2022-2023 State Budget is on women and families, in particular supporting participation of women in the workforce and enhancing working productivity.  Initiatives to ease the increasing cost of living pressures were also announced.

Key initiatives include:

  • $775 million commitment over the next 4 years to drive down childcare costs and increase the number of places
  • Paid parental scheme in the public service will be overhauled, giving every mother and father an entitlement of at least 14 weeks paid parental leave regardless of whether they are the primary or secondary carer
  • Women in the public sector will be supported to return the workforce including grants of up to $5,000 to support with the cost of clothes, training and technology.  A $32 million budget pool is being allocated to this.
  • $520 million over the next 2 years to provide toll bills to ease the pressure of rising cost of living and support workers to get to their places of work
  • $128 million to reduce household gas and electricity bills through technology solutions including solar panels and high-efficiency appliances
  • Various voucher systems focused on families to support COVID recovery
  • Ongoing commitment with the Commonwealth Government to support the ongoing flood response and rebuilding efforts, particularly focused on the Northern Rivers

Domestic and Family Violence

A number of initiatives have been announced in the 2022-2023 Budget to support victims-survivors of domestic and family violence with an investment of over $100 million.

Initiatives include:

  • $43.6 million for expansion and enhancement of Safer Pathway to support victim-survivors of domestic and family violence
  • $18 million to expand audio-visual links to enable remote evidence, including for victim-survivors of domestic violence
  • $8.0 million for court-appointed questioners to facilitate cross-examination of domestic violence complainants
  • $38.6 million for a State-wide expansion of Pregnancy Family Conferencing for vulnerable women and their families, delivered jointly by the Department of Communities and Justice and Ministry of Health

First Nation communities

The Budget has made an ongoing commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of First Nation communities across the domains of healthcare, housing, culture, identity and language

Initiatives include:

  • $40 million investment to help “close the gap” in life expectancy between First Nations people and the national average through community-led initiatives
  • $29 million to drive health and wellbeing outcomes, including:
    • $10 million to implement and sustain effective cultural models of mental health and wellbeing care for First Nations people
    • $9.9 million to expand the Building on Aboriginal Communities’ Resilience initiative to a further 12 Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations
  • $716 million for Indigenous housing, culture, language and community services including new family centres.
  • $149 million for 200 new and 260 upgraded homes for First Nations people, helping to reduce overcrowding and improve the quality of life for tenants, with a further $9 million to develop culturally responsible building standards and design principles for First Nations housing.
  • $67 million to continue and expand the Strong Family, Strong Communities program, to provide wraparound services and support to at-risk First Nations families and the Aboriginal Community Housing sector
  • $32 million to deliver planning and infrastructure upgrades to First Nations communities through the Roads to Home program, supporting access to essential services.
  • $9.9 million to pilot a child and family advocacy support program
  • $15 million to support survivors of the Stolen Generations

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