It’s lolly time for families
GROWING up in a family of 14 and with four kids of his own, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is no stranger to the financial juggle that goes on with running a household.
Grocery bills and school expenses aside, for most Sydneysiders living west of Leichhardt, there are the multiple tolls, fares and fuel costs. Mr Perrottet himself referred to them in his inaugural speech to parliament, acknowledging his Right ally Tony Abbott, as the “forgotten families”. The ones who face the challenges of “crippling tolls” and “the everincreasing cost of living.”
This week, those same families learned Energy Australia will hike their bills by 19.6 per cent, on top of Opal card increases to come into effect next month. While those who own their homes are now asset-rich thanks to a two-year property boom, they’ll remain cash-poor unless they sell up and go bush.
Against a backdrop of stagnant wages growth, families want to know what relief Mr Perrottet will offer in his first Budget on Tuesday.
An unprecedented property boom has filled Treasury coffers with record stamp duty revenue, which will contribute to a surplus above $4 billion.
Throw in the sale of Ausgrid and Endeavour and Mr Perrottet is in possession of a significant bag of lollies.
This week Mr Perrottet told me families were “front and centre” in this year’s ‘health and education’ budget. “The focus of this budget is people,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We want NSW to be the best place to live and work and raise families, and this budget will be all about communities.”
The government has already announced its housing affordability package, while outlining its plans for health and education.
As for cost of living relief, one area of relief could be delaying the M4 toll to ease the average household weekly toll bill of $80, compared with $50 in Melbourne.
Mr Perrottet said the infrastructure spending would help families get home quicker and enjoy better services, and he acknowledged the enviable financial situation the State was in compared with its counterparts.
“We are building NSW for the future, while every other State is struggling to live day to day,” he said. “We are not just living day to day, we are building NSW for families for generations to come.”