The NSW government has announced a $2.3 billion stimulus package, aimed at protecting the health system and broader economy in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
This package, which will be rolled out over the next six months, has two key components – $700 million in extra health funding and $1.6 billion in tax cuts to support jobs.
In providing an additional $700 million to the NSW health system, the government seeks to double ICU (Intensive Care Unit) capacity, prepare for additional COVID-19 testing, purchase additional ventilators and medical equipment, establish acute respiratory clinics, and bring forward elective surgeries to private hospitals.
Meanwhile, the $1.6 billion in tax relief includes:
- $450 million for the waiving of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20);
- $56 million to bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21;
- $80 million to waiving a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies;
- $250 million to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure such as transport assets, schools and other public buildings;
- more than $250 million to bring forward maintenance on public assets, including social housing and crown land fencing; and
- $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance.
Following the announcement, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the stimulus would supplement the federal government’s $17.6 billion stimulus package and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy easing strategy.
“Our first priority is always the health of the people of this state and looking after their families and jobs,” she said.
“This package works hand-in-hand with the recent moves by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the federal government.
“It will provide more resources to help slow the spread of this virus and boost treatment for those people in our community who need it most.”
NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet added that the NSW government’s support package would help businesses grappling with a “once-in-a-generation event”.
“The government stands ready to do whatever it takes to keep people safe and ensure our economy withstands this storm,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Today we are injecting $700 million into the health system and almost $1.6 billion to boost business. In simple terms, this money will help save the lives of loved ones and protect jobs.
“We are supporting business by lowering their costs through tax cuts and fee reductions and working to boost jobs by funding ready-to-go capital work and maintenance projects as a priority.”
NSW health minister Brad Hazzard said the support would provide welcome relief to healthcare professionals.
“Our health workers are doing an amazing job,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This extra funding backs the work of our doctors, nurses, allied health staff, ambulance officers and support staff in the fight to prevent the spread of and prepare for COVID-19.”