Raising the BARR – Week ending 2 September 2022

Raising the Barr


You will have undoubtedly noticed that things are not going along very well in NSW right now. There is a great deal of trouble and strife in the delivery (or non-delivery) of our most basic public services.

Our teacher shortage is damaging our children, our health system can’t cope with the demands, our train operators are forced to strike to ensure basic rail safety is addressed and the State’s finances are a mess. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

By and large, our ability to deliver the most basic services has been undermined these past 11 years by the selling off of our future income from our profit making assets.

The finance books of any household or business, the business of Government included, has two pretty straight-forward sides; money coming in and money going out.

Historically, in NSW, one of the really large and important ways that we ensured money coming in was through successful Government-owned businesses like our Ports, electricity assets, the Land Titles Office, retail spaces in Darling Harbour, etc.

The money that we used to get from these profitable businesses has been sold off over the past 11 years so that the Government could buy some shiny new stuff like tunnels, bridges, stadiums and trams in Sydney. But buying shiny new stuff failed to pay attention to the need to fund, each year, every year, our public services.

So we now find our state unable to fund the basics. This is directly linked to the fact that the State Budget no longer receives that reliable income each year now that the income has been sold off.

Next time you sit in a shiny new seat in one of those shiny new stadiums in Sydney, or the light rail in Sydney that connects the city to the south-eastern suburbs, or the shiny new trains that connect the city of Sydney to the north-western Sydney suburbs, please do spare a thought for the crisis that the State is now in so that those new things could be funded.

And next time you or a family member is unhappy with how long you had to wait in a hospital Emergency Department, or your children tell you yet again that their classes at school had to be collapsed due to lack of teachers, please do take note that your frustrations have been caused by a Government that sold off its income to buy some shiny new stuff.