NSW treasurer hints tax relief in budget

Tom Rabe

The NSW treasurer has hinted at the possibility of lower taxes and less pressure on the hip pockets of families in this year's budget, acknowledging many feel "locked out" of the state's economic prosperity.

Speaking at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney on Wednesday, Dominic Perrottet said the June 19 budget would include initiatives to make the most of the state's financial strength.

While boasting of the state's strong financial credentials, Mr Perrottet said the biggest challenge facing the NSW government was making sure voters felt they were benefiting from them.

"Our economy is going from strength to strength but not everyone feels they are sharing in the success," Mr Perrottet said.

The treasurer said communities were feeling the strain of rapid growth and conceded it felt as if "we are literally living in a construction zone" as a result of the government's $80 billion infrastructure build to alleviate it.

However, most of the projects, including the CBD light rail, Metro and WestConnex, are not due for completion until after the March 2019 election.

"I don't think that is necessarily problematic," Mr Perrottet said.

"I think the biggest challenge for us is to communicate the benefits of the strong management, because social outcomes and strong financial management are two sides of the same coin, you can't have one without the other."

He said Liberal governments were guilty of focusing too much on numbers.

"We can lose our sight sometimes of why we do what we do, all the numbers in the budget, behind each of them are real people."

Mr Perrottet took aim at the 24-hour news cycle for dumbing down political debate around large political reform.

"Reform is hard - and you have to go out on a limb - but in the 24-hour media cycle, you have to be brave and do that," he said.

Mr Perrottet said the current media climate had produced governments and parties more focused on winning the next election, rather than planning what was best for future generations.