Media Releases

KEY COVID-19 RECOVERY FUND FOR WESTERN SYDNEY MISSING BILLIONS

November 03, 2021

The fund Dominic Perrotett offered Western Sydney as compensation for privatising Westconnex is facing a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. 
 
Then Treasurer Perrotett promised in September to put $5 billion of the privatisation proceeds into a fund called Westinvest. The money was supposed to benefit the Western Sydney suburbs who experienced  the harshest lockdown restrictions following the delta outbreak.    
 
But a late Friday announcement by T-Corp, the state’s financial markets operator, confirmed that the Government is using all of the $11 billion sale proceeds to reduce the state’s record debt levels, with no money leftover to pay for the Premier’s signature COVID-19 recovery measure.    
 
NSW Shadow Treasurer Daniel Mookhey accused Mr Perrotett of selling Western Sydney a mirage. 
 
“There is a $5 billion budget blackhole in the middle of Dominic Perrotett’s Western Sydney economic recovery strategy," Mr Mookhey said.    
 
“Western Sydney lived through the ‘tale of two cities’ during lockdown. But now Western Sydney risks being trapped in the slow lane of two-speed recovery because the Premier tried to sell them a mirage.    
 
“Western Sydney deserves better than a fund full of make believe money,” 
 
Prior hearings of Treasury officials at a Upper House inquiry in September made it clear the NSW Government -
 

  • Do not know where the money for WestInvest will come from;
  • Were unclear whether it would even be new money, instead of money already in the budget for existing projects;
  • Had no idea of what projects will be included, or what the eligibility criteria will be;
  • Could not guarantee that any of the projects will be new, instead of going to existing projects already announced;
  • Have no estimate of the number of jobs this fund may create;
  • Could not explain why the chosen LGAs were selected, or why Bayside or Georges River, (both also LGAs of concern), were excluded;
  • Do not know which Minster will be responsible for the fund;
  • Set up the fund without involving the NSW Chief Economist in any way; and
  • Could not guarantee that the fund would be governed any better than the Stronger Communities Fund, which the Premier has openly admitted was used for pork-barrelling Government-held seats.

 
Shadow Minster for Western Sydney Greg Warren said “Mr Perrotett cannot tell the bond markets one story, and the public another. 
 
“Premier Perroett has to come clean: Where is the money for WestInvest coming from?”

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