NSW razor gang ready to strike in mini-budget
Razor gang cuts to the State budget have already been leaked ahead of today’s release, with the government planning to axe free school travel, cutting the back-to-school allowance and stripping the State’s public service workforce in an effort to fill a $1 billion hole.
It’s not all bad news though, with the housing sector receiving a boost thanks to a $3000 increase in the First Home Owners Grant.
But Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said regional NSW will lose out when the mini-budget is handed down today.
"This budget is a fire sale of assets the government is using to try and claw back the mismanagement of the last 13 years," Mr Fraser said.
"This government does not understand the cost of living and slugging residents is not the answer."
Mr Fraser said other plans to hit property investors with tax hikes would push investment over the borders.
"Increasing land tax will drive investors out of the state – the cost of doing business in NSW is deplorable," he said.
"We have to make our State an attractive place to do business, and ensure that services, infrastructure and roads are up to scratch to do that."
The government also plans to axe a fuel subsidy designed to help North Coast service stations compete with subsidised prices in Queensland, a move the Opposition claims will raise petrol prices by up to 8 cents a litre by Easter.
The State government is partly blaming the global economic slowdown for the cut in spending, with Treasurer Eric Roozendaal saying the mini-budget would unveil a deficit of $1 billion, which is four times the surplus projected in the June budget.
The NSW opposition has indicated it is prepared to support borrowing and going into deficit to fund infrastructure.
Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell said an August report by rating agency Standard and Poor’s indicated NSW had borrowing capacity.
"The latest Standard and Poor’s report demonstrates that borrowing capacity is still there and borrowing to enhance the value of your assets has always been a plus in this country, it’s what most people do with their houses," Mr O’Farrell said.
"NSW hasn’t been the premier state for well over a decade."
The mini-budget is expected to be handed down at 2pm today.