I wish to respond to the letter from the former NSW Labor candidate, Toby Warnes, which appeared on Tuesday September 25.
With a $5.2 billion reduction in GST revenue over the next four years, and reductions in other forms of revenue, the state government has had to make tough decisions to ensure NSW is living within its means.
The measures announced by the health and education ministers do not include any reduction of nurses in our public hospitals (2,900 extra nurses have actually been employed since the coalition came to office) or teachers in our public schools. Both are quarantined from the cost-saving measures, which in the case of education is three per cent across both government and non-government sectors. It’s all about trimming backroom administration and re-allocating funding to frontline services.
With regard to WorkCover, the scheme was $4.1 billion in deficit due to the mismanagement of the former NSW Labor government. Without the changes the scheme would have become unviable and not able to help injured workers get back to work. Workers compensation premiums would also have had to increase by a further 28 per cent in the next financial year.
Unfortunately, the concept of not being able to spend what you do not have is one that is completely foreign to Labor governments at all levels. The cost savings that we have put in place to bring the budget back into the black will not last forever. As soon as the state’s balance sheet is returned to a healthy position, we will be able to increase spending on the vital services and infrastructure the people of New South Wales need. Rest assured you will not see the appalling culture of waste, mismanagement and dubious dealings that we endured under NSW Labor for 16 years.
Don Page MP
Member for Ballina