SYDNEY, AAP – Cutting fines, fees and taxes, boosting skills and driving a manufacturing “renaissance” are all part of how NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet wants to lift his state out of the pandemic.
“Our goal is to emerge from the pandemic stronger than when we entered it,” Mr Perrottet told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on Friday in his State of the State address.
He pointed to fewer job losses under Omicron than outbreaks of previous COVID-19 strains, schools reopening, rising spending and a winding back of health restrictions.
“This is a picture of a state ready to rebound,” Mr Perrottet said.
The premier said part of his government’s focus will be on family budgets.
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“Australia is strongest when middle Australia is thriving,” he said.
“The pathway back though is not austerity, but growth.”
Part of this would mean giving boosts to family budgets while limiting how much revenue the government raised from residents.
“I want NSW to have the lowest fees, fares, fines and taxes in the country,” Mr Perrottet said.
The road to recovery would also include a manufacturing “renaissance” focused on health and more big infrastructure projects.
“Now of course, as we have seen three times before, the pandemic isn’t over,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Confidence means being ready for any curveballs that come our way.”
He said these included new variants of coronavirus, a resurgence of cases in winter, industrial action and emerging international unrest.
“We are all working to overcome and deal with these headwinds,” Mr Perrottet said.
Public service wages would need to be handled in a “mature way, not with the sledgehammer of industrial chaos”, Mr Perrottet said.
His government is facing heavy criticism for the shutdown of Sydney’s train network in response to a planned protest by transport staff over safety conditions and timetables.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine would put pressure on households by driving up fuel prices, Mr Perrottet said.
As businesses faced pressure over a lack of skilled and unskilled labour, Mr Perrottet said more workers needed to be brought into Australia while boosting local skills training.
“We need to make sure we match where those future jobs are,” Mr Perrottet said.