Next State Budget a Critical Test for Social Results
20 December 2004
Changes to the parking space levy, land tax and vendor transfer tax and tightly targeted spending increases to community based mental health, disability supported accommodation, pre- schools, community transport and social housing are some of the features of the 2005-06 Pre-State Budget submission (PBS) that the Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) has made to NSW Treasurer, Michael Egan.

The submission, Better Social Results for NSW, is being launched at a media conference on Monday 20 December, 10.30 am in the Level 6 media room, NSW Parliament House.

"In the continuing good economic environment, there is scope for the Carr Government to use its property taxes to stimulate greater levels of affordable private rental housing in locations close to jobs and services in Greater Sydney and in the prosperous regional cities," said NCOSS Director, Gary Moore.

"At the same time, the current CBD and town centres based parking space levy can be significantly increased to both discourage private car use and generate extra revenue for critical public transport infrastructure work."

"Despite commitments in last years Budget to increase mental health spending, the poor distribution of resources combined with growing community demand for services, especially in rural and outer metropolitan areas, means that much more must be done."

"There are over 7,000 people with disability in NSW who need supported accommodation services and around 4,000 ageing carers of young people with disability who require support. The total number of people using these services in NSW is less than the national average and, alarmingly, it has been reducing since 2000."

"NSW lags behind other States in its failure to make a commitment to preschool education for every 4 year old. The Productivity Commission found NSW preschools to be the least accessible and affordable across Australia. This is a critical area deserving urgent Government funding attention."

"Both the Government's own community consultations about the new Metropolitan Strategy and extensive NCOSS rural consultations in mid 2004, reveal that the lack of appropriate public passenger transport is an issue repeated every time."

"In this PBS, NCOSS urges the Government to double its existing $2.7 million pa allocation to community transport and to better means test but extend transport concessions across the State."

"If we are to sustianably improve the living standards of all NSW citizens, we argue that the Carr Government must drop the Treasurer's obsession with eliminating total public sector debt and focus on big improvements in the adequacy and performance of key infrastructure and services," added Mr Moore.