NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announces budget's health funding

NSW delivers a record budget surplus of $4.5 billion, the largest result in two decades

"It's completely unfair on the state of NSW that we're paying a wages bill for the Queensland public service ... and are paying over $1bn in 2021 for South Australians who can't even keep their lights on", Perrottet said as he heralded the government's book-keeping credentials.

Budget delivered: NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced a surplus of $4.5 billion.

Describing his first state budget as "the envy of the western world", Mr Perrottet outlined measures squarely focused on the provision of "social infrastructure".

The funding will help to pay for 120 new and upgraded schools that the government says will create 32,000 more student places and 1500 new classrooms across the state, and brings total spending on new and upgraded schools to $4.2 billion to 2020-21.

Mr Perrottet also announced that from January next year parents will be eligible for a $100 "active kids rebate" per child per year to cover registration and membership fees for sport and swimming lessons.

With growth at above-trend across the forward estimates, Mr Perrottet said it was the regions outside of Sydney that were the "unsung success" of the strong budget position.

Duties on crop and livestock insurance will also be abolished.

The over-performing budget result will likely be attributed to the privatisation of some state assets, including the partial privatisation of electricity "poles and wires" company Ausgrid, higher investment returns and tight expenses control.

AU$286.3 million will be injected into a whole-of-system Digital Platform, which is expected to enhance the digital infrastructure that supports clinical and other health-related systems across the state.

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The rebate will cost the budget $207 million over four years.

The government has allocated $7.7 billion over four years, with $1.5 billion in works allocated for the 2017-18 financial year. It's much easier to complain long and loudly, even if justifiably, about declining GST revenues due to the admittedly questionable redistribution from states with strong economies such as NSW to states with weaker economies that have so far avoided hard economic reform such as Queensland.

"Our reform agenda has been a game changer for NSW", Perrottet said.

$11.8 million will be pumped into stage 3 of the state government's ePlanning program to accelerate online housing approvals for regional and small metropolitan councils with a cloud-based system to replace time consuming paper processes that don't align with the NSW Planning Portal.

The recently announced first home buyers package will see the removal of stamp duty for first home buyers on new and existing homes up to a cost of $650,000, while there will also be grants of $10,000 for first home builders.

But it might have been another nod among several he made yesterday to taxpayers living with the inconvenience (including the deafening sound) of record infrastructure construction that has yet to deliver promised benefits.

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.

To help fund the package, the stamp duty surcharge for foreign investors will be doubled to 8 per cent and the land tax surcharge lifted from 0.75 per cent to 2 per cent.

"That [infrastructure spend] is equivalent to building 124 Harbour Bridges", he said.

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