2013 - 2014 NSW Budget Overview

The O’Farrell Government handed down its third NSW Budget on Tuesday 18 June 2013. This note provides an outline of some of the key announcements from a NSW Farmers perspective.
General Budget Overview
  • Forecast deficit in 2013-14 is $374 million. An improvement on the $824 million deficit forecast last year
  • General Government revenue is expected to reach $62.2 billion in 2013-14 and increase of around $3 billion compared with 2012-13
  • Reduction in NSW GST revenue of $850 billion over 4 years to 2015-16. Between March 2011 and the 2013-14 budget NSW has lost around $5.5 billion in GST revenue over the 4 years to 2014-15.
  • For 2013-14 general government traditional expenses are expected to be $62.9 billion, an increase of 4.9% on 2012-13.
  • General government net debt for 2013-14 is forecast to be $15.7 billion and NSW has retained its triple A credit rating. 
  • The budget is forecast to return to surplus in 2014-15
DPI Budget (including Research, Development and Extension)
  • $1.1 billion budget for Primary Industries – same as 2011-12 and up from $978.9 million in 2012-13.
  • Budget highlights

• $102 million for state priority projects funded under the (NSW/Commonwealth agreement) Water for the Future program.
• $56 million for the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage program to secure long term potable water supplies and manage effluent effectively in regional communities. 
• $11 million for noxious weeds and improve agricultural productivity – same as 2012-13 and 2011-12
• $9.8 million as the state’s share of operating costs and works programs for irrigation areas to improve productivity – same as 2012-13 and 2011-12
• $7.5 million to conserve and restore the Great Artesian Basin groundwater resources as part of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative – same as 2012-13 and 2011-12
• $5 million in additional funding to accelerate the processing of Crown roads disposal applications from rural land users.
• $4.8 million as the state contribution to the National Biosecurity inter-jurisdictional arrangements – same as 2012-13
• $1.5 million for the independent review of coal seam gas activities by the NSW chief scientist and engineer

Operating Statements
  • Pest and disease monitoring programs in place are expected to increase to 80 in 2013-14 from 45 forecast for 2012-13. This upward revision factors in the plant biosecurity and animal biosecurity along with additional wild dog monitoring. 
  • Gross revenue from crown land tenures is expected to remain steady at about $60 million
  • Full time personnel equivalents for the CMAs is budgeted to drop from 500 to 290 as the 128 FTEs relating to the commonwealth caring for our country’ program has not yet been confirmed.
  • Grants and subsidies to the CMAs is forecast to drop from $100.1 million to $27 million as the catchment action NSW grants will be made from the Office of Environment and Heritage and not out of the DPI budget (these cannot be identified in the budget papers, but see section below on Natural Resource Management and $30 million to CMAs) and federal ‘Caring for our Country’ funding is not yet confirmed (was $35 million last year, federal govt has indicated that they have set aside $33 million for this year).
  • The NSW Rural Assistance Authority is forecast to receive increased grants from $3.5 million to $19.1 million. This takes it back to a level similar to the 2011-12 budgeted figures of $28.6 million and possibly includes the $17 million that is identified as being allocated to flood restoration works for primary producers under the NDRRA.

Other Policy Areas

Restart NSW
  • In 2011, the Government established their infrastructure fund Restart NSW.  The sources of capital for Restart NSW include windfall tax revenues in excess of Budget forecasts, net proceeds from asset transactions (including recent lease of port Botany and Kembla) and the issue of Waratah Bonds by the State. 
  • To date, around $4.7 billion has been deposited into the Fund. As part of the commitments for the fund, 30% is reserved for regional areas (with 10 per cent being reserved specifically for mining affected communities). Of the $3 billion committed by Government from Restart NSW so far, $983 million or 30% has been allocated to regional projects.
  • The regional Restart commitments starting in 2013-14 are:

• $135 million for the Bridges for the Bush program 
• $120 million for Resources for Regions funding approvals to be delivered in two phases to support economic and social infrastructure projects in mining affected communities. 
• $40 million has also been reserved for water supply and drought priority projects to drought-proof regional communities
• $28 million for the Bells Line of Road improvement program 
up to $7 million for regional projects under the Regional Development Australia Fund.

Transport
  • Budget for Transport for NSW will be $11.3 billion – up from $9.8 billion in 2012-13

• $7.5 million in 2013-14 to Community Transport services across the state to ensure regional areas and transport disadvantaged people in NSW have the opportunity to access vital transport services.
• $388 million for rural and regional bus services and approximately $5 million to Community Transport providers.

Roads
  • $5.1 billion to build and maintain critical road and maritime infrastructure across NSW in the 2013-2014 State Budget

• $165 million over four years to support Road Freight Safety and Productivity including Bridges for the Bush
• $13.3 million allocated in the 2013-14 year for bridges to the bush for 5 bridges (Kapooka, Gunnedah, Bemboka, Wee Waa, Moama).   The other 12 identified bridges in the 2012 announcement are awaiting federal government commitments.
• $47 million to continue work on the four lane upgrade of the Great Western Highway between Station Street, Woodford and Ferguson Avenue, Hazelbrook (State and Federal funded). 
• $1 million to start the Bells Line of Road Improvement Program – part of the $43 million announced by Andrew Stoner on 14 June 2012.
• $5 million for overtaking lanes on the Newell highway

Rural Communities
  • $14.9 million for infrastructure maintenance at regional harbours which cater for the commercial fishing industry, tourism and recreational boating under the Coastal Infrastructure Program
  • $17 million for clean-up and recovery grants for primary producers under the NDRRA. This is expected to be the budgeted amount of payouts under the NDDRA arrangements following natural disaster declarations for floods in early 2013.
  • $22 million on natural disaster mitigation and resilience programs. This is the same as the 2012-13 allocation.
Emergency Services
  • $35 million for the Rural Fire Service to continue reducing fire hazards. This is the same as the 2012-13 allocation.
  • $8.5 million in additional funding for local government capital grants to support Rural Fire Service infrastructure and fleet. 
  • Funding for the purchase of medium utility helicopter to assist the Rural Fire Service to fight fires in remote and hard to access locations. 
  • Regional police stations will receive $22 million to commence and continue construction on new stations at Parkes, Moree, Walgett, Coffs Harbour and Tweed/Byron LAC. Similar commitments provided in 2012-13
  • $192 million to employ additional police by a further 489 officers. No indication of how many will be located in regional areas. $178 million provided in 2012-13. 
Education
  • $66 million for capital works in regional schools and TAFE campuses including the construction of a new public school at Lake Cathie new facilities at schools including Collarenebri Central School, Ulladulla High School and Bathurst High campus and Albury, Orange, Tamworth and Kingscliff TAFEs. Actual committed spend for 2013-14 for the identified facilities is $13.3 million. Lake Cathie, Collarenebri and Bathurst schools are yet to have tenders finalized so there is no allocation in the 2013-14 budget papers.
Health
  • The following health infrastructure projects are identified in the budget. All of these apart from Kempsey, Lismore and Maitland are ongoing projects:

• $32.8 million to commence construction of the $170.1 million South East Regional Hospital at Bega.
• $77.5 million to continue with the development of the Tamworth Stage 2 Redevelopment at an estimated total cost of $220 million.
• $59.5 million to continue the Port Macquarie Base Hospital Expansion project at an estimated total cost of $110 million.
• $42.1 million to continue the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Redevelopment at an estimated total cost of $270.1 million.
• $35.8 million to continue the construction of Stage 1 and 2, acute services redevelopment at Dubbo Base Hospital at an estimated total cost of $79.8 million.
• $9 million to commence the $80 million redevelopment of Kempsey District Hospital.
• $8.9 million to start the $80.3 million Lismore Hospital Stage 3A redevelopment.
• $6.8 million for planning development and land purchase for a new Maitland hospital.
• $12.6 million to progress at the Parkes and Forbes hospitals.

  • $3.8 million in funding will also ensure the continued development of new Ambulance Stations at Albury and Bega.
  • $2.4 million to fund an additional 15 positions for doctors training on the Rural Generalist Training Program.
  • According to Andrew Stoner’s press release $1.7 million to fund 16 medical training places in specialty training programs. In the budget statement this is expressed as funding for the Health Education Training Institute to support further rollout of the Clinician and Executive Team Leadership Program
Natural Resource Management
  • $30 million in 2013-14 and $112million over 4 years, for new Catchment Action funding, which is provided to Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) for programs that underpin sustainable, productive agriculture via community-driven projects. This will be part of Local Land Services in January 2014. This is a transfer of monies from the DPI budget given it is raised through the environmental levy and to be used specifically for NRM work. 
  • $138 Million for the Environmental Protection Agency. Increase from $121 Million in 2012/13. 
  • Funding to manage pests and weeds ($38 million) along with fire mitigation ($38 million) in national parks. Up $5 million on last year’s allocation of $71 million in total.
  • $23 million to help local councils prepare and implement coastal and floodplain management plans and works to protect and restore coastal and estuarine environments. Increase of $4 million.
  • National Parks and Wildlife propose a continuation of the forecast 2012-13 hazard reduction area in national parks of 135,000ha for the coming year. This is an increase on the 2011-12 actual figure of 49,094ha
Mining and Gas
  • $8.5 million ($28 million over 4 years) for the expansion of the New Frontiers pre-exploration data collection initiative to attract new exploration and further investment in the resource sector.
Planning
  • $49 million from the Priority Infrastructure Fund to assist councils in meeting the costs of essential local infrastructure generated by developments.
  • $20.9 million to implement the State’s new planning system focused on sustainable growth and community consultation in 2013-14.
  • $5.3 million for the Planning Assessment Commission and Joint Regional Planning Panels to deliver an independent system for assessing state and regionally significant developments during the transition to the new planning system.
     

Contact: Angus Gidley-Baird

Phone: 1300 794 000

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