| 29.05,20. 05:08 PM |
NSW Government forecast shows coronavirus to slash up to $20 billion from state's economy
The NSW economy will take a hit of up to $20 billion from fallen revenue due to COVID-19.(AAP: Darren England)
The coronavirus pandemic could see between $10-20 billion slashed from New South Wales revenue, with the Treasurer revealing "the hit to the economy is real".
Large budget deficits are expected over the next four years, with projections showing nearly all government revenue sources will be affected.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the economic challenge was significant.
"Let's be clear, the hit to the economy is real, everything we have seen happen around us has an economic impact and we need to do everything we can to help fix that by creating jobs for people in need," he said.
"We are facing the type of economic challenge not seen in generations, perhaps not since people were hammering the last rivet into the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1930s."
It's a far cry from the Government's half-year review six months ago which forecast average surpluses of $1.9 billion over the next four years.
The grim economic forecast followed Wednesday's announcement by the Government that it would freeze public sector wages for 12 months in a bid to save the state $3 billion.
The Government needs a majority in the Upper House to move its policy through and Mr Perrottet and Finance Minister Damien Tudehope have been meeting with cross-benchers to try and win their support.
The Shooter, Fishers and Farmers party leader Robert Borsak ruled out backing the bill as it would disproportionally affect people in rural and regional areas.
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Opposition Leader Jodi McKay described the wage freeze as "a slap in the face and a kick in the guts for all public sector employees" at a time when health care workers and other frontline staff were working to rid the state of COVID-19.
"How dare she reward these nurses and those 100,000 other health workers in NSW with a pay cut. They deserve a medal, not pay cut."
Mr Perrottet said pausing pay rises was "not about how worthy 400,000 people in the public service are".
"It's about helping create jobs for half a million people out of work.
"Every dollar counts and our focus at the moment is creating and retaining as many jobs as possible."
Mr Perrottet said the Government's priority was "to invest in job-creating projects that have a far greater stimulatory impact than providing pay-rises for those already in jobs".
He accused Labor of seeming "happy to march the NSW economy off a cliff to prove an ideological point".