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Billions in NSW budget for Premier’s social agenda a bid to appeal to disaffected Coalition voters, expert says & More Trending News

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Billions of dollars have already been announced ahead of Tuesday’s NSW budget, with childcare, women and health the biggest benefactors so far.

The early childhood sector is set to receive more than $12 billion, including $5.8 billion over 10 years to introduce universal pre-kindergarten for all children across the state by 2030.

Professor Andy Marks from the Centre for Western Sydney said the initiatives were part of an effort to sell the Premier Dominic Perrottet’s social agenda ahead of the state election next March.

“The Premier will be looking at the recent federal poll. He’ll be looking to appeal to the groups that felt disaffected by the Coalition nationally,” he said.

“Treasurer Matt Kean has said this is a budget for women. It is very focused on social agenda issues, big spending on health, palliative care, free preschool, all of those measures that you normally wouldn’t associate with a Liberal National Coalition.

“They’re really focusing on moving away from hard infrastructure. So, putting down the hard hats and the high-vis vests and going more for something that reveals the Premier’s social agenda.”

Spending on early childhood is a major focus of the budget.(AAP: Nikki Short )

A $4.5 billion spend in health over four years is for the hiring of 10,000 new staff, including 1,048 doctors and 3,517 nurses.

There’s also $743 million over five years to improve palliative care, including employing an extra 600 nurses, allied health professionals, doctors and support staff.

However, the NSW opposition and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association have questioned how all those people will be found.

“They can’t meet [those targets], because there’s not enough nurses in the system today to meet the demand. There’s not enough teachers in our classrooms today to meet the demand,” Opposition Leader Chris Minns said.

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