NSW Pumps Billions into Schools and Hospitals

Apart from the surpluses, his biggest new announcement on Tuesday was more spending on hospitals, with $720 million to upgrade Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick.

The budget, handed down today, earmarks $522.5 million for health-related technology projects.

The investments will enable creation of 32,000 more student places across the state and delivery of 1,500 new classrooms.

The budget will also contain $244 million for the Art Gallery of NSW's Sydney Modern expansion, $40 billion in planning money for the F6, M9 and M12 motorways and $123 million to revitalise neighbourhoods along Parramatta Road.

"This budget is the envy of the Western world", Mr Perrottet declared in his budget speech.

From January next year businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million a year will be exempt from paying duties on insurance for work vehicles, professional indemnity and public liability.

Duties on crop and livestock insurance will also be abolished.

The New South Wales treasurer has complained about the profligacy of other states - including South Australia's failure to "even keep their lights on" - as he confirmed a massive $4.5bn budget surplus, which will allow big spending on health and education.

The surplus is $500 million higher than forecast in the December half yearly review, which predicted a 2016-17 surplus of $4 billion, thanks to $488.9 million in stamp duty from the partial privatisation of electricity "poles and wires" company Ausgrid.

The Berejiklian government is following through on its promise to build western Sydney, with $648 million of the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan to be spent in 2017/18, including $485 million on the Northern Road and an additional $153 million to upgrade western Sydney roads.

This is expected to save $547 million.

$7.7 billion over four years into hospitals and health facilities - up 50 percent compared over the four-year period and also a record.

However, the revenue side of the budget has taken a hit due to NSW's share of the GST continuing to fall.

Other major ICT projects outlined in budget documents include $18.1 million to support integrated ICT systems across Office of Environment and Heritage and Local Land Services and $12.8 million in capital expenditure (and $10.3 million in recurrent funds) from 2017-18 to 2020-21 for the NSW Electoral Commission to build a "an end-to-end solution for the disclosure of political donations, expenditure and the lodgement of public funding claims" as well as for improvements to iVote.

One of those deliveries will include $2.8 billion to the Department of Finance, which is responsible for not only procurement policy, but also the state's frontline service delivery outlet, Service NSW.

Lismore MP Thomas George said the funding was a win for the region.

While Premier Berejiklian promised a game changer on housing affordability, her government's budget does not deliver systemic change.

Buyers of first homes worth between $650,000 and $800,000 will receive stamp duty discounts - up from between $550,000 and $650,000 and again reintroducing existing homes to the scheme.

Following the recent federal budget lead, foreign investors have been constrained with an investor transfer duty surcharge increase.

Vanessa Coleman

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