Back-to-basics budget for health, schools as costs soar

The NSW government is preparing to deliver a "back to basics" budget as Labor's coalition predecessors, inflation and rising construction costs cop the blame for spending constraints.

Infrastructure upgrades and maintenance at NSW hospitals and schools will receive billions amid a backlog of required work and rising costs.

The state was not alone in facing challenging economic conditions, Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said on Tuesday.

"Just like households who are having to renovate are facing cost pressures on their building programs, so is the government," he said.

"The complication we have here in NSW is that many of these cost blowouts were left untreated by our predecessors, at the same time that our predecessors were unleashing billions of dollars in additional spending at a time of high inflation."

More than $1 billion will go to addressing a backlog of accessibility and maintenance work at schools in Labor's second budget since winning the March 2023 election.

Prue Car at a press conference.
Education Minister Prue Car says the budget will go "back to basics".

Education Minister Prue Car attended Bonnyrigg High School in Sydney's west on Tuesday, one of the schools she said would benefit from the "back to basics" budget on June 18.

Some $600 million will go toward school maintenance and $150 million for accessibility works, with about $200 million to be spent on a backlog of upgrades and refurbishments promised but not delivered under the former government, she said.

The funding was needed despite the projects - including bathroom renovations and basic maintenance - being unglamorous, Ms Car said.

But Opposition Leader Mark Speakman said the announced funding represented a cut rather than an investment in schools.

"This is just more smoke and mirrors from Labor on school infrastructure,” he said.

Ms Car said the government's funding was calculated differently, was worth more and would deliver.

"I've been to schools where they made the announcements and never invested in any of the maintenance, so I think the experience in schools of what the coalition promised when it came to basic minor works and basic maintenance speaks for itself," she said.

Meanwhile, the government also announced upgrades for health facilities at a cost of $3.4 billion.

Health Minister Ryan Park said he had successfully lobbied for an extra $840 million in infrastructure funding.

NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park.
Health Minister Ryan Park says skill shortages have blown out some project costs by 30 per cent.

"The envelope that the previous government had set aside was not going to be enough to deliver the hospitals that the community were promised," he said.

Inflation and skill shortages have impacted construction, pushing up some project costs by more than 30 per cent, Mr Park said. 

Ongoing hospital redevelopments around the state will receive extra funds, while Port Macquarie Hospital, on the state's mid-north coast, will receive $265 million to provide more clinical services, including emergency and maternity services.

Mr Park announced on Tuesday another $47.8 million for the redevelopment of Ryde Hospital in Sydney's northwest, bringing the total cost to more than $526 million.

The build began under the previous government and is due for completion in 2027.

Some $250 million will go to critical maintenance at the state's health facilities.

Emergency departments started the year with their busiest quarter on record, according to NSW Bureau of Health Information figures.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store