'Tough' budget to be revealed

Pre-budget leaks suggest the state's police force will be given a $60 million boost.
Pre-budget leaks suggest the state's police force will be given a $60 million boost. FILE

JOB cuts, asset sales, police numbers and highway upgrades are tipped as the key announcements in Tuesday's NSW Budget.

In the lead up to what he has described as a "tough" budget Treasurer Mike Baird has confirmed only police, nurses and teachers will be spared during an overhaul of the public sector in coming months.

While Mr Baird has yet to say how many jobs could be axed, the NSW Public Service Union predicts the number could be more than 10,000.

Forestry, land, RTA and water jobs are tipped to be among those first to go.

Coupled with profits from the sale of the state's power generators, the government is expected to redirect funds saved from the job cuts to infrastructure projects.

At least $2.5 billion of the infrastructure spend could be destined for Sydney's arterial roads including the M5 and M2 toll ways.

Mr Baird has yet to indicate how much has been set aside to for the Pacific Hwy Duplication which has been promised a $3.5 billion boost in federal funding, should the State Government match the offer.

Last week North Coast MP Don Page would only say the notorious stretch of road would do "very well" on Tuesday.

Pre-budget leaks suggest the state's police force will be given a $60 million boost to remove asbestos from regional police stations, including Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour, and about $30 million to build new stations in remote areas.

About 220 extra police officers will train at the Sydney academy, joining the 150 recruits enrolled this year.

The announcements stem from Premier Barry O'Farrell's election promise to have 16,000 officers patrolling the state's streets by 2016.

A $5 million drop in forecast GST revenue will contribute to a predicted $826 million deficit.

The Australian Industry Group has called on the government to undertake immediate economic reforms to get the state back on track.

In its pre-budget submission the AI Group said the government needed to "invest significantly" in the competitiveness of the NSW economy through tax reform and investing in training for the NSW workforce.

The submission also calls for better results from the Trade and Investment Department's industry support programs, particularly for the tender process to be simplified.

Two weeks ago the Trade and Investment offices in Tweed and Coffs Harbour were closed, leaving only Lismore and Port Macquarie to service Northern NSW.

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has since launched the Creative Industries Taskforce which will be responsible for redirecting funds to small businesses and community groups over the next four years.

The budget will be handed down at noon Tuesday.

Topics:  budget, job cuts, new south wales



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