NSW treasurer Matt Kean has confirmed a budget deficit of $11.3 billion - three times higher than the government forecast six months ago - and there's very little new for struggling older residents trying to balance their bank accounts.
Seniors minister Mark Coure said there was $8 million in the budget for existing events such as the NSW Seniors Festival, which includes the Premier's Gala Concerts, Seniors Comedy Show and Expo along with the Tech Savvy Seniors program which teaches computer skills.
Support programs and rebates would also continue including the Seniors Card and Seniors Savers Card, access to more than 60 rebates for pensioners and more than 30 rebates for self-funded retirees and $1 million will be provided to fund the four NSW ageing advocacy organisations..
Health care will receive a $33 billion investment which includes $2.8 billion in capital works to continue building and redeveloping hospitals and health facilities; and $743 million over five years for care and pain management services for end-of-life care. This funding boost is on top of the $300 million the NSW Government already invests each year in palliative care and will deliver an additional 600 staff once the program is fully rolled out, and new dedicated palliative care units in two major hospitals, Westmead and Nepean, as well as developing and refurbishing existing palliative care facilities across the State.
The health budget also includes $1.76 billion for NSW Ambulance to recruit 2128 new staff and develop 30 more new NSW Ambulance Stations; $2.9 billion for mental health services and supports for people across NSW, including $143 million across four years for Towards Zero Suicides to fund suicide prevention initiatives, and $28.5 million over four years for Lifeline to boost crisis counselling services: $899 million to fund the ongoing costs of the COVID-19 response and $408 million over two years to fast-track elective surgeries delayed due to the COVID-19.
The government has committed $40.3 million for four dedicated menopause hubs and 16 holistic menopause services throughout the state.
The budget also commits $37 million for the building of about 120 new social housing dwellings under the Together Home program which aims to tackle homelessness, increasing the number under the program to 270.
The government also will trial a two-year, $740 million shared equity scheme to help nurses, teachers, police officers, single parents and older singles enter the housing market.
The state will provide an equity share for a new property of up to 40 per cent or 30 per cent for an existing property under $950,000 in Sydney and other major regional centres. It will be available to 3000 teachers, nurses, police, single parents or older singles. The maximum property value will be $950,000 in Sydney and some regional centres, and $600,000 in other parts of the state.
A $128 million Energy Bill Buster program will allow eligible NSW households to receive the equivalent of up to 10 years' worth of rebates in an upfront lump sum contribution towards a free solar system or home appliance upgrades.