Treasurer rapping up his ‘fix the fundamentals’ budget – Daily Telegraph

Daniel Mookhey says Tuesday’s state budget will ‘fix the fundamentals’ of an economy bloated by excessive debt. Read our exclusive interview with the rap-loving Treasurer.

New South Wales Treasurer Daniel Mookhey is preparing to hand down the state’s first budget under Labor in more than a decade. The government has already announced a suite of budget measures, including an increase in coal royalties, new public schools in Western Sydney, and a pay rise for teachers. Mr Mookhey told Sky News Australia that it is an “exciting moment” for the Labor party to hand down their first budget. “What people of New South Wales can expect is a considered budget that focuses on providing relief to families amidst a once in a generation cost of living crisis,” Mr Mookhey said. “They can expect this government to take sensible measures to pay down Liberal Party debt and rebuild the publics finances.”

Tuesday’s budget will unveil widespread cost-cutting in order to “rebuild essential services” by paying workers more, and deliver cost-of-living relief such as a weekly cap on tolls.

In making savings measures, Mr Mookhey said his first priority was to cut things that “don’t hurt people”.

As part of the budget-wide cuts, The Daily Telegraph can reveal that $100 million NSW Health planned to spend on stockpiling Covid-19 PPE will be cut and “repurposed”.

The marketing budget of Destination NSW will also be cut by 30 per cent.

NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey has been listening to rap music while crafting the state budget. Picture: Richard Dobson

The budget will also outline $745m worth of savings made by cutting the number of top-paid public servants.

Scrapping infrastructure projects will be among the biggest savings in Mr Mookhey’s budget, which he has written to the soundtrack of US artist Chance the Rapper and other hip-hop musicians.

Mr Mookhey recently told an industry function that his favourite rapper used to be Tupac, but since the election he has a new found appreciation for rapper Biggie Smalls and his song “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems”. But more money would be a luxury, Mr Mookhey joked.

The government will save $5 billion by not going ahead with building Dungowan Dam or raising the walls of Wyangala or Warragamba dams.

However, in a bid to reassure voters that the Labor government will still invest in major infrastructure, Mr Mookhey said he wants to “overhaul” planning rules to cut red tape and stop the government spending millions on business cases for projects which never get built.

“We’re far less interested in spending money planning fantasy projects than we are delivering real ones,” he said.

Rap singer Tupac Shakur is a favourite of the Treasurer.

Biggie Smalls hits are on high rotation. Picture: AP

The savings measures have been made in part to cover the cost of paying frontline workers more, following a series of pay deals with public sector unions.

The budget is expected to show a four-year wages bill billions of dollars higher than forecast under the Coalition.

While Mr Mookhey would not confirm the final budget numbers, all signs indicate the modest 2024-25 surplus former Treasurer Matt Kean forecast before the election has evaporated.

“The surplus that was projected by the former government didn’t include major expenditure that you’d expect them to have,” he said.

Mr Mookhey said the final budget outcome will not be the measure of his success.

“You certainly won’t see this government doing victory laps about budget results. We’ll be upfront with the people in NSW,” he said.

He said the budget is projected to return to surplus over the next four years.

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Mr Mookhey said he would be making “significant inroads” in paying down debt, to ensure gross does not exceed $187 billion in 2025-26.

“Right now households are under immense pressure, our priority is to make sure families get the help they need, that we rebuild essential services, and we responsibly stabilise the state’s finances,” he said.

The government is not expected to unveil many new cost-of-living relief measures beyond what it promised at the election, including a $60 weekly toll cap and targeted energy bill relief for low income earners.

“The rule has been simple: first, get rid of waste that doesn’t align with the public’s priorities, then use that money to advance the public’s interest,” Mr Mookhey said.

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