Adjournment Notes Budget Edition

Welcome back to Adjournment Notes Budget Edition.

Parliament returns this week for the NSW Budget.

This is the first budget for the new treasurer Matt Kean and will outline the vision the Perrottet government has for the people of NSW as we move into the countdown to the March 2023 NSW election.

Highlights of the budget include universal pre-Kindergarten learning to give our children a better start in their lives. The Liberal Nationals will continue to invest in infrastructure to strengthen our economy, transport, health and education systems.

To watch the budget speech by the Treasurer Hon Matt Kean, click here.

The Perrottet Government wants our children to be better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of a new life.

That is why, as part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget, the Government is investing more than $5.8 billion over ten years to begin the delivery of a universal pre-Kindergarten year for all children in NSW by 2030.

This is one of the most significant reforms to education policy in a generation, providing an additional year of schooling to children across NSW.  In addition to helping kids develop learning skills earlier, this change will take pressure off parents and family budgets.

Giving every child in NSW access to a specialised year of play-based learning will smooth their transition to school and help develop core skills earlier.
Our Government knows that all families are different, and a strong and productive NSW needs happy and healthy families at its heart.

That is why the 2022-23 NSW Budget will include a significant shift in paid parental leave standards for NSW public servants. As the largest employer in Australia, the NSW Government must lead the way on staff welfare.

From October this year, there will be no distinction between a ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ carer, meaning every mum and dad in the public sector will be entitled to 14 weeks of paid parental leave following the birth of their child. These entitlements will be extended to long-term or permanent foster carers.

Additionally, parents who share paid parental leave entitlements more equally will be able to access up to 2 weeks of ‘bonus leave’. These entitlements also include an extension of the time in which leave can be taken from one year to two years after birth.

We understand that all families are unique and different circumstances require different leave arrangements. This new approach supports flexibility and freedom for parents to decide how best they want to divide work and care responsibilities. Happier, healthier families mean more productive and higher-performance workplaces.
Frontline emergency care staff work tirelessly every day to keep us safe. They provide urgent care when we need it most. We know this is a stressful, demanding job.

That is why the NSW Government is boosting support for frontline healthcare with a $1.76 billion investment in frontline emergency care. Thirty new ambulance stations and over 2,000 new ambulance staff means faster patient response times and a reduced workload for our ambos. With this boost, NSW will have the largest paramedic workforce in Australia.

The investment includes 1,858 frontline staff, 210 ambulance support staff, 52 nurses and eight doctors. The new staff and stations will be based in metropolitan and regional areas - providing boosts to frontline healthcare across our state.

The first eight stations are already planned for Warilla, Kincumber, Lisarow, Gateshead, Swansea, Cherrybrook, Raby and Narellan, with the other 22 to be constructed over the following three years. These new stations will be based in fast-growing communities to service their increasing population into the future.

As a state, we all saw how vital our frontline health workers were during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this investment is about taking the pressure off our emergency response teams.
Whether it was the frontline health staff administering vaccines and treating patients, the teachers working in challenging conditions to ensure our kids were not left behind, or the ServiceNSW team helping people access emergency support payments - the NSW public service got our state through the pandemic.

That is why the NSW Government has announced a new, two-year public sector wages policy that will increase pay for more than 200,000 public sector workers. The new policy applies to agreements struck from 1 July 2022 and provides among the country's highest public sector wages growth.

In 2022-23 and 2023-24, employees will be offered remuneration increases of 3.0 per cent. In addition, employees who contribute substantially to productivity-enhancing reforms will be eligible for a further 0.5 per cent increase in 2023-24. This provides a potential increase of 6.5 per cent over two years.

Additionally, in recognition of their extraordinary service over the last two years, healthcare workers will be eligible for a one-off payment of $3,000. Eligible staff include paramedics, midwives, cleaners and all other permanent staff employed by NSW Health in area health services.

Since the Liberals and Nationals came to Government in 2011, NSW public sector wages have increased by 4.2 per cent in real terms, exceeding private sector increases of 2.7 per cent.
As Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Active Transport, I am very excited to see the recent announcement by Minister Rob Stokes of a 91km continuous walking and cycling path between Sydney Opera House and Parramatta Park.

I established the Friends group to facilitate cross-partisan support for active transport improvements like this, which will mean easier, healthier and more enjoyable lives for Sydney residents.

This $60 million investment from the NSW Liberal Government represents a shift in thinking towards the value active transport has for our cities and regions. For over 200 years, Sydney's prosperity has been supported by forward-looking road and rail networks. The next step is building active transport infrastructure alongside road and rail.
I recently had the honour of moving a condolence motion in Parliament for the former President of the Legislative Council and my former boss, the Honourable Max Willis RFD ED. Max Willis was a respected member of the Legislative Council for almost 30 years, from 2 May 1970 to 5 March 1999 and a long-term respected member of the NSW Liberal Party in the Sutherland Shire region.

In a 29 years career, he served as Shadow Minister for Education, Tourism, Environment, and Planning, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, and for almost seven years, President of the Legislative Council.

Max's proudest achievement from his time in Parliament came as the inaugural Chair of the Social Issues Standing Committee. As Chair, he oversaw an inquiry and subsequent report into access to adoption information. Until then, details about an adopted child's birth parents were confidential. Following the report, the Greiner Government changed the law to make this information available with consent from both parties concerned. The change allowed adopted children to reconnect with their birth parents and learn about their family history. This reform has positively impacted many thousands of our citizens.

You can watch my tribute to Max in the video above.
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