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Treasurer Daniel Mookhey and Minister for Finance Courtney Houssos address the media in a press conference to deliver the NSW 2024-25 Budget. Picture: Newswire/Gaye Gerard

NSW Budget: what’s in it for aged care

The NSW government has announced the state’s “biggest single investment in social housing” to help address the housing crisis, despite a budget it says has suffered an $11.9bn blow because of the GST carve up.

Describing his second budget as “a careful budget in difficult times”, Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said the government was expecting four years of budget deficits but was also focused on helping NSW households cope with the cost of living crisis.

Mr Mookhey said the government would manage the budget black hole through a deficit, instead of inflicting austerity measures such as tax increases, or spending cuts.

But he did flag that the state’s economic outlook “remains challenging”, with net debt revised upwards to $96.8 billion for the 2023-24 financial year, plus inflationary pressures which, while easing, are still too high.

“Cost-of-living pressures have also weighed on household spending, slowing growth in the NSW domestic economy,” he said.

“Momentum in activity is anticipated to recover in 2024-25 as cost of living pressures ease.

“In this Labor budget we continue with our plans to bust the wages cap, reform tolls, back first-home buyers, build new and better public schools and hospitals, speed up the renewables revolution, rebuild rural and regional roads, help small businesses and wrangle debt back under control."

Meanwhile, spending on health and education was being held up because of negotiations with the federal government on those two areas.

Mr Mookhey said the Minns government expressed its determination to get its fair share for schools and health under the national agreements.

“Our message to Canberra is clear: the sooner we can get a resolution to these negotiations, the sooner we can get on with ensuring our schools and hospitals remain world class.”

Key health worker accommodation program

This budget included an injection of over $655 million into housing for renters and key workers.

$450 million has been committed to a Key Worker Build-to-Rent Program for metropolitan areas of the State. The program is designed to "build new apartments for essential workers including nurses, paramedics, teachers, allied health care workers, police officers and firefighters to rent at a subsidised rate in areas closer to the city, their jobs and services."

The government has also included $200 million towards accommodation solutions for key health workers living in rural and regional areas.

Bulk-billing GPs, better hospitals and improved emergency departments

The Emergency Department Relief Package invests $480.7 million in an aim to ease pressures on hospital emergency departments. It is estimated that the package will assist in preventing 290,000 emergency visits per year.

The government has promised reduced hospital wait times and better outcomes for patients with funding set aside for urgent care and ambulance services.

Funds will also be provided to incentivise general practitioners to bulk-bill. Mr Mookhey said the crisis in GP bulk-billing and the pressures that puts on hospital emergency departments had led the Minns government to make a $189 million intervention to assist in increased bulk-billing after consultations with medical organisations.

Mental health

This Budget has committed $111.8 million to providing increased access to mental health services in the State, focusing on the expansion and development of community mental health teams.

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