"Against a backdrop of difficult global economic conditions and the chaos coming out of Canberra under Federal Labor, the NSW Government is delivering on its promises to improve services for the people of NSW, invest in critical infrastructure across the State and protect the vulnerable," Mr O’Farrell said.
"Even with some positive economic signs emerging in NSW in the areas of jobs, confidence and growth, NSW is not immune to national pressures. Falling state revenues since the Half Yearly Review has added to our revenue challenge.
"Despite this, we have done everything possible to protect the State’s triple-A credit rating."
"We have managed to live within our means and reduce debt to get the Budget back on track to surplus, while building for the future with a massive investment in infrastructure – including the two largest infrastructure projects in the nation, the North West Rail Link and WestConnex."
Mr Baird said the NSW Government has responded to the challenges and remains committed to delivering sustainable Budget surpluses in the future.
"The headline Budget result delivers smaller deficits of $374 million for 2012-13 and $329 million for 2013-14 compared to our Half Yearly Review estimates, before delivering increased surpluses in 2014-15 and beyond," said Mr Baird."
"The 2013-14 Budget continues our focus on delivering the infrastructure that communities across our State desperately need. The NSW Government is committed to spending a total of $59.7 billion on infrastructure over the four years to 2016-17, despite the fact that Commonwealth Government support is declining over that period.
"Expanding the Building the State package announced in last year’s Budget, today we are putting in place additional measures to directly tackle the housing shortfall across NSW. This Budget delivers more than $300 million to provide priority infrastructure for new housing and extends the state’s generous first homebuyers scheme to further boost supply."
"This Budget delivers a record $14.6 billion for infrastructure and services in public transport and roads. This includes $4.1 billion for the North West Rail Link over four years with tunnel boring machines due to be in the ground next year, and $353 million for the continuation of works for the South West Rail Link.
"The NSW Government’s significant investment in roads also continues in this year’s Budget, with $1.8 billion committed to the 33 kilometre WestConnex project over the forward estimates, including $111 million in this year’s Budget.
"In recognition of a private sector plan to address another missing link in Sydney between the F3 and the M2, this Budget funds the Stage 3 assessment and makes provision for a contribution of more than $400 million towards the project as long as the assessment confirms the proposals represents value for NSW taxpayers. "The Budget will also improve travel times, road safety and freight efficiency by delivering $986 million for major upgrades to the Pacific Highway and $178 million for the Princes Highway," Mr Baird said.
The 2013-14 Budget commits a record $18 billion to Health, providing $220 million for new and increased activity including surgery for an extra 3000 patients, 69,000 emergency department admissions and an extra 34,000 patients treated in hospital beds." This Budget also commits $1.2 billion to upgrade and redevelop health facilities across the state including Peak Hill, Port Macquarie, Bega, Blacktown-Mount Druitt, Hornsby-Ku-ring-gai and Northern Beaches.
"Our ongoing investment in Education also forms a key part of this Budget, with $13.95 billion allocated – an increase of $524 million on last year. The centrepiece of the education budget is an additional $5 billion over six years to implement the National Education Reform Agreement (Gonski agreement) between the NSW Government and the Commonwealth.
This year’s education budget also includes an allocation of $530 million for new capital works including five new schools, along with the upgrade of 13 schools and TAFE colleges.
"By managing our finances sensibly, we have also been able to allocate $2.76 billion to Ageing and Disability Services, including $440 million to deliver the third year of Stronger Together 2 and $585 million over three years for the launch of the National Disability and Insurance Scheme to secure the future of disabled people, families and their carers," said Mr Baird.
"As the engine room of our economy, this Budget also provides support for small businesses across our State, to stimulate growth and jobs. Payroll tax changes will provide tax relief to thousands of businesses, encouraging them to hire more people, while making payroll tax more efficient over the longer term."
"As an added measure to boost jobs, the NSW Government will also extend and increase the payroll tax rebate available under the Jobs Action Plan."
"While we continue to face difficult financial circumstances, this Budget demonstrates that the tough decisions we have made to clamp down on expenses and undertake critical reforms are now delivering rewards for the people of NSW."
"In stark contrast to what happened under State Labor, this government has taken responsible decisions to prioritise and deliver for the people of NSW. We will continue along the path of restoring strength to our finances, and capacity to our balance sheet, while at the same time continuing to invest in those areas where it’s most needed to secure NSW’s future," Mr Baird said.