RECORD $21 BILLION FOR NSW SCHOOLS, TAFE AND VET

The Liberals & Nationals continue to invest unprecedented funds into the education system in NSW, with a record $21 billion allocated to schools, early childhood, TAFE and VET in today’s Budget.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said that over the next four years, the NSW Government will:

  • Allocate $6.7 billion to deliver 190 new and upgraded schools;
  • Recruit 4600 more teachers;
  • Allocate $120 million to expand before and after school care;
  • Dedicate $88.4 million towards employing 100 additional school counsellors or psychologists and an additional 350 student support officers.

This investment will not only provide the best quality schools for NSW children but deliver the highest number of teachers in government schools in the State’s history.

“An investment in the next generation is the best one any Government can ever make,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

“We are lucky to live in such a wonderful country and in NSW we want to ensure our children get the best education they can and that we provide options and incentives for them.”

Ms Mitchell said that this Budget recognised the complexity of our education system. “Not only is this budget focussed on continuing to deliver our record school infrastructure program – it also recognises the importance of supporting a students’ mental health, as well as the critical role that teachers play in the education of our children.”

In another historic first, the Government will be investing $449 million to clear maintenance backlog in all public schools by July 2020, bringing the total investment to $1.3 billion over 5 years.

Other investments in the Education cluster in the 2019-20 Budget include:

  • $2.4 billion in the 2019-20 Budget towards vocational education and training.
  • $500 million over four years to support non-government schools in building facilities to provide more student places in growing communities;
  • $20 million over four years for new and existing preschools to build or renovate facilities; and
  • $10 million over four years for the Sustainable Schools Program to help schools take effective steps to improve their environmental footprint.

BUDGET DELIVERS FOR STUDENTS IN REGIONAL NSW

The 2019-20 NSW Budget features significant investment in regional school infrastructure, with funding for 18 new and upgraded schools and hundreds of millions committed to clear the maintenance backlog in regional schools.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government is continuing its record $6.7 billion investment in school infrastructure, with a total of 190 new and upgraded schools being rolled out across the State, with 40 projects currently underway in regional areas.

“Investment in education is a core priority for this Government, and I am very proud that we are also providing more pathways and opportunities for families and students in regional NSW,” Mr Perrottet said.

“The 2019-20 Budget also allocates $917.4 million in funding for 40 new and upgraded schools the Liberals & Nationals Government committed to as part of the recent elections.

“Eighteen of these new and upgraded schools are in regional NSW, including two new high schools, a new primary school and upgrades to multiple schools across the State.”

There are a number of projects planned or currently underway across regional NSW, including:

  • New primary schools in Murrumbateman and Googong prioritised for planning in 2019;
  • Major upgrades underway at schools in Queanbeyan and at Karabar High School;
  • New high schools committed at Bungendore and Jerrabomberra;
  • Major upgrades to schools in Murwillumbah, Kingscliff, Tweed Heads, Lennox Head, Byron Bay and Pottsville; and
  • Upgrades to Bexhill Public School, Bangalow Public School and Teven-Tintenbar Public School.

The Government has invested a further $449 million to clear the school maintenance backlog in all public schools by July 2020 bringing the total maintenance investment to more than $1.3 billion over five years.

Ms Mitchell said that it will be the first time in the State’s history that the school maintenance backlog will be wiped to zero and that more than $300 million will be invested in regional school maintenance for the coming twelve months.

“Children in regional NSW deserve a great public school education – to be educated close to home, in top-quality facilities from early childhood to year 12, and I am thrilled this Government is delivering that,” Ms Mitchell said.

HELPING CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR NSW CHILDREN ONE MEAL AT A TIME

Thousands of vulnerable children will now have the chance to get a wholesome, nutritious start to their day, with Foodbank rolling out free breakfasts in 500 public schools across NSW thanks to funding from the State Government.

The initiative will be funded by an investment of $8 million in this year’s 2019-20 NSW Budget and will be delivered in partnership with Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief organisation.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the initiative will reduce food insecurity for vulnerable Australians and address the nation’s food waste problem.

“The single most important investment you can ever make is in a child’s future,” Mr Perrottet said.

“This initiative will help take the pressure off parents and carers who are struggling to put food on the table for their children and will provide relief to the communities who need it the most.”

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the joint initiative with Foodbank will give children a better chance to succeed in the classroom.

“Research shows that a nutritious breakfast will have a positive impact on a child’s mental and physical health, will enhance engagement and productivity in the classroom, improves cognitive functions and educational outcomes, and helps to develop social and leadership skills,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Foodbank currently provides food to more than 100 schools in NSW, so I am thrilled we can help offer this program in an additional 500 public schools.”

This announcement is part of a suite of education initiatives in the 2019-20 Budget, including 4,600 more teachers in NSW public schools, $917 million for 40 new and upgraded schools, $500 million for non-Government schools and $449 million to erase the existing maintenance backlog.

“The NSW Government is investing more in education than ever before, because an investment in our children really is an investment in the future of NSW,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Our state’s future doctors, nurses and farmers are being shaped in our schools as we speak, so it is crucial they are nurtured to be the best they can be.”

SOLAR AND BATTERY SCHEME TO HELP REDUCE BILLS

NSW households are being encouraged to register their interest in the Empowering Homes program, which could save up to 300,000 households hundreds of dollars on their power bills.

Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the program will support the roll out of solar-power and battery systems across NSW by providing access to interest-free loans, unlocking up to $3.2 billion of clean energy investment.

“Through the Empowering Homes program we could see up to 3,000 megawatt hours of battery storage added to the NSW energy system,” Mr Kean said.

“That’s enough stored electricity to run the Sydney Trains network for up to two days straight.

“For owner-occupiers with an annual household income of up to $180,000, the 2019-20 NSW Budget will make available interest-free loans of up to $9,000 for a battery system or up to $14,000 for a solar-battery system.

“These loans will support more homeowners to make the transition to cleaner energy and take control of their energy bills.”

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to helping ease cost of living pressure for NSW households.

“It’s estimated that a family with a $500 quarterly electricity bill could save up to $285 a year on their bills while repaying the no interest loan, and savings could increase to more than $2,000 a year when the loan is fully repaid,” Mr Perrottet said.

“As more homes take up solar-battery use, we’ll also be improving energy security and reliability throughout NSW by reducing peak demand on the grid and putting downward pressure on prices for everyone.”

Mr Kean said the Government will shortly be seeking delivery partners for the program and interested homeowners are invited to register their interest online.

It is expected battery and solarbattery systems will be available for installation from summer 2019-20.

“I want to deliver a program that provides robust consumer protections in terms of safety, system performance and value for money.”

All applications will be subject to responsible lending criteria as part of the program requirements. NSW households can register their interest in the program.

BUDGET BACKS IN HEALTH PLEDGES FOR NSW FAMILIES

The roll-out of $170 million of new health services for families, including more paediatric operations, children’s allergy testing and free mobile dental checks, form part of today’s Budget.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the health initiatives the NSW Liberals & Nationals announced before the March election are part of a raft of new measures it will deliver over the next term of government to help families.

“We promised to deliver a better quality of life for all citizens no matter where they live or what their circumstances and easing stress around their health needs is key to that pledge,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Whether it’s getting kids in and out of hospital quickly to ease the strain on families, or taking dental checks to them, we are getting it done. Healthy kids are happy kids, and happy kids means happy parents too.

“It is only thanks to the strong economic management of a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government that we can fund these new health programs to support families right across the State.”

Across the next four years, the NSW Government is investing $170 million towards family health programs from pre-conception through to pregnancy, birth, early childhood and formal schooling years.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said families throughout NSW can expect more hospitals and health facilities to be delivered, staffed by a record workforce and now, additional services are on their way.

“Last Budget we delivered the $157 million Parents Package and now we’re backing-up that effort by fast-tracking our health election commitments to support families even more,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Over the next term, 8,000 additional paediatric operations will ensure children needing surgery are back home with their family faster, while new mobile dental clinics will visit up to 136,000 kids a year.

“Families will also get faster access to allergy testing and management with the State’s largest investment in allergy nurses, allowing families to get the answers and support they need.”

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said a $9.6 million boost over four years to medical and mental health support services for those struggling with eating disorders, will also help young people.

“We promised to better support people with eating disorders, particularly teenagers, so the challenges many experience in their youth, don’t go on to become lifelong battles,” Mrs Taylor said.

Some of the family health initiatives featured in the 2019-20 NSW Budget include:

  • $70 million over four years to provide 35 new free mobile dental clinics allowing access to dental checks and basic dental care for up to 136,000 primary school children in Western Sydney, Mid North Coast and the Central Coast each year.
  • $45 million over four years to deliver an additional 8,000 paediatric operations
  • $9.6 million boost over four years to medical and mental health support services for those struggling with eating disorders
  • $4.6 million over four years to expand services to reduce waiting times for children’s allergy testing and management.
  • $42 million over four years to provide greater choice of IVF services. This will include a rebate of up to $500 for out-of-pocket medical expenses related to pre-IVF fertility testing, the first state-wide fertility preservation service for cancer patients at The Royal Hospital for Women (in partnership with the University of NSW), and the expansion of NSW Government supported clinics to provide lower cost IVF treatments for 6,000 women