Raising the BARR – Week ending 14 June 2019

NSW Budget – What you won’t hear the Government say

As you read this column you will have spent the past 24-48 hours hearing many stories from the NSW Budget that was handed down Tuesday, June 18. The truth is that the NSW Budget is in a terrible condition and destined to crash in the coming years, but the Government pretends that all is well.

At the very heart of the current NSW Government’s Budget is the reality that the money coming in is less than the money needed to keep the state going. In a very large part this is because all of the things that the State used to own, that made a profit and put money into the Budget, have been sold. And on the flip side of this sale of things that the State used to own, this same State is now renting many of those same things back, like buildings in which we work and deliver services to the people of the State.

There is currently an addiction to selling assets that we, the people of NSW, have always owned – things like ports, electricity, land titles, transport, buildings, Crown Land and even foreshores. Now, in 2019, as a result of 8 years of this sell off mentality, if the assets sales stop, then the Budget crashes, services provided to the community stop and masses of public servants are sacked which would have the flow on effect of destroying local economies and towns right across the State. This addiction to sell, sell, selling started as a choice of the Government, but sadly it has now become an addiction upon which our survival and existence is based.

To highlight how crazy our current Budget position is, in this coming financial year the Government plans to borrow some nine thousand million dollars so that, at year end, they will have one thousand million left over. That’s right – borrow 9 so that they are left with 1 and then proclaim this as a great outcome, completely ignoring the borrowed $9B. Make no mistake that $9B definitely does need to be repaid, but the Government are kicking that responsibility down the road for future generations.

And here is the really important thing that should make us all nervous; once everything that makes a profit is sold, then the NSW Government will only have one source of income and that source being taxes from the pockets of you and I. Over these past few days and the coming weeks and years, I don’t think that you will hear the Government talk about any of this.

So while the sell-off of everything nailed down and not nailed down continues, we all watch on as mega-millions are spent on rail, stadiums, tunnels, bridges and roads in Sydney. In contrast, we don’t have enough ambulances and paramedics in our area to service our community; we don’t have enough police in our community to respond to our calls; we don’t have enough money to fix our schools and keep our TAFE’s open; we don’t have enough money spent on our local hospitals to make sure that they can look after the needs of our people and we don’t have enough money to look after our homeless and mentally unwell.

I don’t just think that the NSW Budget is doing poorly. In my view it is far worse than that – I believe that it is catastrophically and irreparably damaged. A future Government will need to do something serious about the NSW Budget and when they do, please remember that the problem was brought to you by this current NSW Government.