Health and housing the focus in no-frills state budget

The 2024-25 NSW Budget was handed down on Tuesday.

HEALTH and housing were the focus of Tuesday’s no-frills state budget.

They are also the areas most likely to affect residents of the Camden Haven.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey revealed that NSW remains in the red after losing a significant share of GST revenue, but the current deficit of $9.7 billion is expected to fall to $3.6 billion in the 2024-25 financial year.

Mr Mookhey also confirmed that $265 million had been set aside for the critical upgrade of Port Macquarie Base Hospital, as News Of The Area reported on 14 June.

The refurbishment of the hospital’s emergency and maternity departments was one of only a few big-ticket items on the Labor Government’s spreadsheet.

“The project will… address capacity issues and meet projected demand to 2036, in line with clinical service planning,” Mr Mookhey said.

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said when details of the funding boost were announced last week, there was an “overwhelming response” from the community and medical fraternity.

She now awaits more details of how the funds will be spent.

“I am hoping that part of the funding will go towards the Mid North Coast Cancer Centre for a third linear accelerator,” she said.

“This will dramatically reduce waiting times for radiation treatment as well as having a positive flow-on effect in the delivery of cancer services, generally.”

Funding was also allocated to continue the hospital’s carpark upgrade.

While the budget included funds for the planning of the Pacific Highway and Harrington/Coopernook intersection, Mrs Williams was disappointed that other key projects were overlooked.

“No additional funding has been allocated for the much-needed Oxley Highway Stage 2 upgrade or to implement the 16 Regional Cities Bus Service project rollout.”

Budget measures significant to regional NSW include:
– $5.1 billion to build or replace social housing and a further $1 billion to repair existing properties. People fleeing domestic violence will be prioritised, although it is not yet clear where this accommodation will be provided.
– $527.6 million for emergency housing and homelessness support services. As reported last week, this will not include Community at 3’s proposal to purchase transitional accommodation at Kew.
– Tax incentives to encourage GPs to increase bulk-billing beyond a 70 percent threshold.
– Cost of living adjustments for essential workers, including $200 million for accommodation to attract and retain regional health workers.
– $435.4 million in 2024-25 for energy rebates and concessions. This is in addition to the Australian Government’s $300 energy bill relief payment.
– An extra $1.2b over four years to replace the ageing XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains and to deliver a modernised regional rail fleet.
– $3.3 billion to repair roads impacted by natural disasters.
– $2 billion for other disaster and recovery programs.

Additionally, the government will continue to address teacher shortages in regional communities by offering recruitment bonuses and relocation packages.


Leave a Reply