Budget Estimates 2010 - 2011Back to Speeches
The Hon. MICHAEL VEITCH (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.14 p.m.]: I am pleased to speak in the 2010-2011 budget take-note debate. This budget has achieved a lot. It has brought New South Wales back into surplus, a feat that did not seem possible this time last year and one that is constantly downplayed by the Opposition. This budget continues last year's record investment in infrastructure, which the mob opposite opposed. Over the next four years $62.2 billion will be spent on infrastructure to make New South Wales a stellar State! This investment in infrastructure also will support thousands of jobs a year. Over this next year Health will receive $16.4 billion, Education $14.4 billion, Transport $7 billion, Roads $4.7 billion, Police $2.8 billion, Human Services $5.7 billion and Emergency Services $972 million. Members opposite have stopped heckling.
This budget also recognises the hopes and dreams of the people of New South Wales. By eliminating stamp duty the Government is helping people toward the goal of owning their own home, with first home buyers able to receive benefits of up to $29,490. What a great initiative. Also contained within this budget are new tax cuts to help foster businesses. The Government has cut the payroll tax rate four times in two years. This Government's commitment to improving facilities and services to people living with a disability is reaffirmed in this budget. The Government's 10-year plan, Stronger Together, will receive an increase of 9.1 per cent funding or $205.7 million. In practical terms this means $71 million towards increasing support from three to four days a week for people with a disability who are unable to enter the workforce and from four days to five days for people with very high needs; $26.2 million towards preventing young people with disabilities entering nursing homes, developing alternatives for young people in high-need support situations and improving the care of young people who are in nursing homes; $6 million to provide alternative accommodation support for people with a disability located in boarding houses; and $34.3 million in 2010-11—an increase of $2.4 million on the previous year—to provide 159 flexible respite packages.
Over the 2006-07 to 2010-11 period an additional 2,243 packages will be provided, at a cost of $110.7 million. Flexible respite is so important for families and carers as it enables them to have a break to rejuvenate both physically and emotionally. Another noteworthy point in this budget is the significant investment to protect kids in care: $680.2 million will be spent to provide services to children in foster care and kinship care. This is an increase of $51.9 million from the previous financial year.
There is also an increase in funding to expand the number and range of services that focus on prevention and early intervention strategies to help families identified to be at risk. These include $2 million for the Sustained Health Home Visiting Program, which employs specialist child and family health nurses to work intensively with high-needs families in the first two years of a child's life; $2.5 million for Getting on Track in Time, or GOT It, which is a school-based early intervention service for children in kindergarten to year 2; $4.5 million to non-government organisations to establish parenting skills as well as provide general advice and support programs. This will focus on new parents with babies and toddlers and parents of adolescents to help them to develop the skills to respond to children who are showing signs of difficult behaviours.
The Brighter Futures early intervention program, which targeted 4,020 families in 2009-10, received an allocation of $8 million for the provision of additional places. Brighter Futures supports vulnerable families and prevents their problems from escalating. The program helps them by providing specialist services that are targeted to their specific needs, including parenting advice, quality childcare and home visiting services. I understand the program was the basis of a notice of motion moved by the Hon. Christine Robertson. In this impressive budget $244.3 million has been allocated for community development and support services.
Of that amount, $10 million has been allocated to further develop the Community Builders Grants Program, which is a highly successful program for groups who run programs or services that directly benefit their community. In my duty electorate of the Upper Hunter, recipients of this funding were the Upper Hunter Aboriginal Youth Forum, which is a group that meets at least once a month and conducts activities of interest to them as well as bring in guest speakers to talk about relevant issues and topics such as health, education, relationships, employment and wellbeing. Another program is Connecting the Hunter, which will employ a coordinator to organise training to non-government organisations and volunteer board directors in community engagement, media management and marketing. After training the coordinator will work with the non-government organisations to assist them to plan and market their engagement strategy.
Another exemplary budget item is the continuation of the Community Building Partnership funding program. Extension of this valuable program for another year allows even more local infrastructure to be delivered. I cite the great results achieved last year by this program in another of my duty electorates, Burrinjuck, as a result of benefiting from this funding: the Grenfell Junior Soccer Club Inc., which received $30,000 for a canteen, change rooms and an all-weather shelter; the Harden Shire Council, which received $30,000 to upgrade a caravan park; and Annette's Place Rural Multipurpose Children's Centre, which received $25,956 to rebuild the community playground in Young.
The 2010-11 budget is also investing in our young people. The $11.4 million