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Govt funding priorities irk as consultants get more than the SES

GO FIGURE: New South Wales Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian delivers her budget for 2016-17  to the Legislative Assembly at the NSW Parliament House in Sydney on Tuesday.
GO FIGURE: New South Wales Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian delivers her budget for 2016-17 to the Legislative Assembly at the NSW Parliament House in Sydney on Tuesday. PAUL MILLER

THE Baird government drew criticism for spending $3 million a week on consultants as it announced last-minute funding for social programs included in the State Budget.

Labor MP Ryan Park said the 2014-15 forward estimates revealed the private consultancy spend had ballooned to more than $150 million each year.

Meanwhile, funding for the State Emergency Services was just $96.4 million.

“The Baird government is spending more taxpayer money on private consultants than it does on entire government agencies,” Mr Park said

“This is privatisation by stealth, (Treasurer Gladys) Berejiklian said she wanted to cut the number of government agencies and now she’s spending millions outsourcing work previously done by government agencies.”

The final funding leaks ahead of the budget delivery included a $75 million boost over four years to existing funding for drug and alcohol services.

Assistant Health Minister Pru Goward said the funds included $24 million for detox and treatment services for more than 1000 young people.

A further $24.5 million would go towards specialised services for pregnant women, women with children, families and carers.

A separate $40 million over four years has been set aside to help young people leaving out-of-home care to further their education and find stable housing.

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard said young adults aged 19-24 had the highest rate of homelessness in the state.

“The NSW Government recognises that this is a serious issue and that is why it is so critical that we do what we can to prevent vulnerable youth from ending up on the streets,” he said.

The budget provides $190 million over four years to reform the out-of-home care system, and an extra $370 million over four years to meet its increasing demand.

Seniors have been promised a new $6.5 million funding pool over the coming financial year, including $1 million for the Liveable Communities Program to make communities more easily accessible.

Topics:  nsw government state budget



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