Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

State Budget

Expenditure Illustration


Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 15:35 :28 ): The motion of which I gave notice earlier today should be accorded priority because the Treasurer today delivered a momentous budget that will do exceptional things for this State. Governments that are good governments do not produce strong budgets for the sake of it. Governments produce strong budgets for what outcomes they can achieve for the community by reason of having a strong budget. If the motion is accorded priority the Parliament will hear why this is not a government of people who produce strong financial numbers for the sake of it, but a government that wants to help our communities meet the needs of today and build for the future.

If you like good sets of numbers you could rattle them off from this budget like Dustin Hoffman rattled off the telephone numbers in Rain Man, but behind those numbers is a very important human dimension, which is the reason we are supposed to be in this place. Record expenditure on hospitals, doctors, nurses and allied health and other staff—whether in our regions or in our cities—means that today and in the future there will be shorter waiting times and better medical treatment when people are vulnerable and in need. Record palliative care expenditure means that, whether in our regions or in our cities, some of our most vulnerable people with terminal illnesses will have proper pain management and a dignified end to their lives.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Thomas George ): Order! The member for Blacktown will come to order.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: Record expenditure on public schools and teachers means that, whether in our regions or in our cities, today and in the future our children will have free access to the same great public education system that benefited people like the Premier and me. Record expenditure on police, whether in our regions or in our cities, means that in an ever-changing and sometimes frightening world our society will be as safe as it can be. This comes on top of record expenditure on roads and transport, which has produced so much in terms of projects like NorthConnex, WestConnex, the North West Rail Link and the metro line.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Thomas George ): Order! The member for Blacktown will come to order.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: There is so much more planned for the future. The member for Keira, in his motion, does not want to talk about the community benefits of this budget. He wants to talk about everything other than the next financial year under this budget. Debate on his motion would cover what will happen in the budget forward estimates or what has happened in the past, but this Parliament should talk today about the momentous budget that has been delivered by the Treasurer and what it will do for real people in this State. It is the sort of budget that members on the other side of the Chamber could only dream of delivering. They have never, in 48 years of Labor government prior to 2011, been able to deliver such a budget.



Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 15:49 :50 ): I move:

That this House:

(1)Notes that the 2017-18 budget continues the Government's strong track record of responsible financial management.

(2)Congratulates the Government on making the tough decisions to bring New South Wales from last to first.

(3)Commends the Government for its ongoing investment in our communities to meet the needs of today and to build for the future.

In the words of former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, "What a lovely set of numbers in this budget." This budget did not happen by accident. It is not off the back of a mining boom, like some other State budgets in recent times. It is not off the back of a single government policy. It is the product of six years of hard work—careful, meticulous work—to improve the lot of this State. I note some of the economic highlights of this budget. First, 90 per cent of Australia's growth occurred in New South Wales over the previous year. For the first time in 26 years, New South Wales has topped Australia's growth charts, coming in at 3.5 per cent—better than every other State. That is a great achievement because it corroborates what any member in this place has been told by the business community, that is, New South Wales is keeping the Australian economy going.

I remember that Paul Keating used to say that the best thing you can do for a working man or woman is to give them a job. The unemployment rate in New South Wales is the lowest in Australia, only 4.8 per cent. Over the last two years, 58,000 jobs have been created in regional New South Wales. This is a great result for the working men and women of this State. Next financial year, New South Wales will spend $22.3 billion on infrastructure, a record for any single year. This will take the infrastructure spend over the next four years to $72.7 billion. Spending on government services next year will be a massive $77.2 billion. All of this has been achieved in the context of there being no State debt—in fact, there is a budget surplus, and New South Wales has a triple-A credit rating.

Let us go to some of the highlights of expenditure in the budget. In respect of health infrastructure, $2.8 billion of new money will take State expenditure to $7.7 billion over the next four years. That means new hospitals in Mudgee and Macksville, major redevelopments at Campbelltown Hospital and Randwick Hospital, and a new hospital at the Tweed. Health services expenditure will be $23.2 billion over the next financial year, an increase of $1 billion. This budget includes spending on new schools and upgraded schools, with $4.2 billion allocated over the next four years. There will be $2.2 billion for new capital works to commence over the next two years and a record $747.4 million for maintenance, being an additional $411.3 million.

The budget includes spending on roads and infrastructure of $72.7 billion over four years, with $7.2 billion for the third stage of WestConnex, $4.9 million across four years for the Sydney Metro City and South West, $3.5 billion for the Pacific Highway upgrade over the next four years and $4 billion for the Sydney Metro North West over four years. There is also money for local roads. Importantly, in terms of affecting everyday lives, there are also cost-of-living measures, with a $4.3 billion package for first home buyers, $207 million to help kids get active—something the member for Keira has spoken against, somewhat disgracefully—$217.3 million for more early childhood education and lower green slips charges. This budget should be commended. This budget is for local communities in this State. It is a budget that should be applauded, and not criticised, by those opposite.


Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 16:07 :00 ): In reply: The member for Wollongong complains too much. Seats adjoining Wollongong did quite well in this budget; perhaps the problem for the people of Wollongong is their local member. It is a great shame that those opposite did not give a graduate of the London School of Economics the opportunity to speak, but rather someone with fake medals who does not know what he is talking about, because I am sure the member for Macquarie Fields has heard of Keynesian economics. The reality is that if you embark on a once-in-a-generation infrastructure program, as this Government has with more than $70 billion over four years, it creates jobs, economic growth, economic activity and revenue for government.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Prospect will remain silent. He has already made a contribution.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: It is a shame that the former trade unionist who is now the member for Wollongong has no understanding of basic economics. We all know that the member for Prospect spends his time polishing medals rather than reading economic textbooks. The member for East Hills contributed worthwhile material to this debate because he understood and spoke about the money that is going to nurses, hospitals and education. He focused on community, unlike the reprobates opposite who do not care about communities and instead want to play petty politics all the time—the louts opposite who keep shouting while I am trying to speak in the House.

They do not understand that this budget will provide benefits for education and other areas. As Opposition members are not used to reading balance sheets it will take them a few days to break open the seal of the budget papers. This budget is delivering for our community. Instead of criticising the budget and complaining about children getting money for their sporting teams, Opposition members should just say that this Treasurer has done a great job.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is that the motion as moved by the member for Ku-ring-gai be agreed to.

The House divided.