NSW treasurer calls for budget support

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Business leaders need to support the NSW budget's plan to unlock the economic potential of women in the state, the treasurer says.

Matt Kean says his first budget is all about "reform to support families and build a brighter future for everyone" and will act as a 10-year blueprint for prosperity.

But the Labor state opposition says the budget is more focused on re-election than reform, with leader Chris Minns fearing an austerity budget will follow if he can't lead his party to government in the upcoming March election.

The Liberal treasurer continued selling his blueprint on Wednesday, telling the Committee for Economic Development of Australia think tank in Sydney that economic reform will set the state up for long term success.

A return to surplus is on track and will be aided by increased government revenue and the tapering end of COVID-19 and flood support, according to projections.

Within a decade, as many as 95,000 women are expected to enter the workforce or work more hours, Mr Kean said.

Unlocking women's economic potential would increase household income by up to $4400 a year and grow the economy by up to $17.1 billion a year.

But businesses cannot leave it all up to the government.

Mr Kean challenged business leaders to think about what they could do to make their offices better for the women who work there, or risk missing out on the commercial advantages.

"The structural and cultural change we are trying to achieve is something that is built by everyone in our economy," he said.

Flexible hours, employer-provided childcare, and stamping out workplace harassment were all steps that could help businesses attract the talent they need to boost productivity, Mr Kean said.

Earlier, the treasurer promoted the $150 back-to-school vouchers announced in the budget for every school child.

"Cost of living is going up and we want to help families deal with the household budget pressures," he said.

The state government will allow first home buyers to skip stamp duty and pay property taxes instead as one of its flagship policy reforms.

Mr Minns has called it a never ending tax and warned a re-elected Perrottet government would expand the tariff beyond first home buyers.

"There's no doubt he'll introduce a broad-based land tax on residential properties for every household (if re-elected)," he said earlier this week.

Mr Kean told the CEDA audience that reforming stamp duty was a very costly exercise that the NSW government can't do without help from the Commonwealth.

"Right now we're looking at first homeowners, we've got a pilot program to see how it works for that cohort," Mr Kean said.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the policy gives first home buyers a choice that could allow them to own a home sooner.

"You can pay stamp duty upfront, or you can pay an annual amount, which is generally in line with what you pay on council rates," he said.

"If the Labor Party want to continue to run scare campaigns, that's a matter for them, that just demonstrates once again that they have no positive vision for our state."

Opposition treasury spokesman Daniel Mookhey says the government should take their proposed reform to the election and denied running a scare campaign.

"We are pointing out the facts about the premier's proposal ... he wants this land tax to apply to every home in NSW, his first stop on that journey is first homebuyers," he said.

Choosing the property tax option would save first home buyers the hefty upfront cost of stamp duty, but force them to pay ongoing taxes even after they exceed what stamp duty would have cost.

The ongoing tax could however give the government more certainty over future revenue.

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