By NSW Premier Mike Baird @MikeBairdMP
This week I put forward an idea to my State and Territory colleagues to consider raising the GST.
Our nation has some big problems looming, perhaps the most pressing of which is funding our health system. In 15 years from now, we face a $35 billion funding crisis that threatens to end healthcare as we know it.
Solving this problem will require more than the usual smear and fear. It will require leadership and ideas and that’s why I have proposed to increase the GST to 15 per cent at the latest Council of Australian Governments meeting held in Sydney.
My proposal is for all the extra revenue to be directed into healthcare while also compensating lower income earners so they are no worse off.
It won’t be popular. But tough decisions rarely are.
If we don’t make some tough choices, our health system simply won’t have the funding to survive, and I believe we can find a way to fund it while financially looking after those who need it most.
I’m pleased to report our meeting with the Prime Minister was positive and there was consensus that health funding is a critical issue and a variety of constructive ideas were brought to the table to figure out how we fund health into the future.
Meanwhile, construction has begun on the $130 million King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade to fix one of the city’s worst bottlenecks, 18 months ahead of schedule.
This project is the first section of WestConnex Stage Two, which involves widening and extending the M5 motorway.
There are 100,000 motorists who use the M5 every day and nearly half get stuck at the King Georges Road interchange. This upgrade will cut travel times at the interchange by up to half and ease delays along the M5 East and King Georges Road.
The interchange will connect to an already widened M5 West – which was completed in December 2014 – and is the precursor for the New M5 tunnel, which will provide an extra three lanes in each direction between Beverly Hills and St Peters.
Work at the interchange involves widening and extending the eastbound on-ramp and westbound off-ramp between King Georges Road and the M5 East, increasing ramp lengths by 180 metres.
The upgrade has been accelerated by an historic agreement between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments and is due to be finished in two years.
When completed, WestConnex will link the M4 and M5 with a continuous free-flowing motorway, creating 10,000 jobs and injecting more than $20 billion into the NSW economy. It will also increase capacity and reduce travel times from Western Sydney and South Western Sydney to the CBD, Airport and Port Botany.
The NSW Government is providing $1.8 billion to build WestConnex. The Commonwealth is providing $1.5 billion, in addition to a concessional loan of up to $2 billion.
The Commonwealth Government is investing a record $50 billion to build world class infrastructure for a stronger and more prosperous Australia.
Visit www.westconnex.com.au for more information.