Labor slams NSW budget 'broken promises'

Tiffanie Turnbull
·2-min read

The NSW opposition leader has criticised the state budget as lacking vision, saying it makes "heroic" assumptions, breaks promises and leaves vulnerable families behind.

The budget, handed down by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday, pinned the state's recovery on tax cuts, restaurant vouchers and record spending on infrastructure funded in part by asset recycling.

NSW's six-year streak of budget surpluses officially ended in the year to June 30, with the deficit for the 2020/21 budget forecast to reach $16 billion.

Jodi McKay addressed the state parliament on Thursday in her budget reply speech, questioning the government's plans to sell off assets for a quick cash fix, instead of keeping them as a revenue source when it is most needed.

"This pandemic has changed a lot, but it has not changed this government's addiction to privatisation," she said.

"We once took $2.7 billion in revenue from our assets every year - that's money to pay for essential services and infrastructure - but now when we need it most, it's not there, and they want to sell off what's left."

How that money will be spent is problematic too, the NSW Labor leader says.

The budget has a short-term focus and won't do anything to set up the state for a post-COVID, post-recession world.

"We have a budget that is built upon broken promises, selling assets and cutting workers' wages, policies that mug people's wallets, and act as a handbrake on our economy."

Ms McKay singled out as key budget flaws the assumption a vaccine would be available to NSW residents in the second quarter of 2021, and wage cuts for public servants including frontline workers.

A Labor budget would be far better for communities, she said.

It would make preschool and early childhood learning free, commit to a jobs guarantee and mandate local jobs and suppliers.

It would also spend more on jobs, training and mental health support for young people.

"Of all the failings of this budget there are none greater than the failure to deliver for people."

"They deserve better in this budget. They deserve better from their government."