NSW Budget winners include energy and preschool rebates, toll cap, public sector pay rises

Energy bill assistance, a toll cap and preschool fee relief are among the cost-of-living measures the state government has announced in a bid to help NSW households struggling with hip pocket pain.

The Minns government handed down its first budget on Tuesday, predicting the state’s bottom line would return to a modest surplus of $844 million in 2024/25 after a deficit of $7.8 billion this financial year.

Targeted cost-of-living support will come in the form of energy rebates of up to $350 for eligible households, as relief is extended for another financial year from July 1.

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The family and seniors energy rebates will increase to $250, while the low-income household rebate and medical energy rebate will both be bumped to $350.

It comes on top of the $326 million already allocated to energy rebates in 2024-25.

Families of up to 64,000 children will receive preschool fee relief in the form of $500 vouchers for three-year-olds attending eligible locations from January.

Commuters are also in for a helping hand, with an estimated 720,000 motorists to share in $561 million over two years to cap road tolls at $60 a week.

Drivers will be able to claim back any spending above $60 a week via a quarterly refund from Service NSW as of January 1.

As promised ahead of the budget, the biggest increases in spending will go towards the state’s essential health and education services.

Hospital and health facilities will receive $13.8 billion in infrastructure spending over the next four years, while $2.5 billion extra will fund pay rises and additional staff for the sector.

Nearly $10 billion will be allocated over the next four years for new and upgraded schools, TAFEs and public preschools, while the budget will also fund permanent literacy and numeracy programs, among other measures.

Labor said it had found $13 billion in savings and redirected funds, much of which will go towards delivering a 4.5 per cent pay rise for more than 400,000 public-sector workers.

Prospective first home-buyers are also in for a boost in a tough market, with stamp duty waved for purchases up to $800,000 and discounted for purchases between $800,000 and $1 million.

Revenue is set to increase by 5.8 per cent in 2023/24 to $112.4 billion, thanks to a booming property market, which is delivering a stamp duty and land tax bonanza, while employment and wages growth means more payroll tax.

Over the four years to 2026/27, revenue is projected to grow at an average rate of 3.4 per cent.

– With AAP

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