According to the NSW Treasury, the NSW Government is on track to record a surplus more than five times that predicted by Treasurer Michael Costa when he handed down the last State Budget in June 2007. Notwithstanding this surplus, Mr Costa announced today that tomorrow night's the budget will take the State further into debt, as a result of a massive $58 billion in infrastructure spending over the next four years, $13.9 billion of it in the 2008-09 financial year.
The Treasury's General Government Financial Statements for the 9 months ending 31 March 2008 showed a net operating surplus of $1.9 billion, compared with a projected surplus for the full year of $376 million.
Mr Costa indicated that the spending on infrastructure will be across a range of sectors including roads, health, transport, housing and education. ICT is integral to many infrastructure projects, so in addition to specific ICT initiatives, the budget is likely to contain good news for suppliers.
Despite a trickle of announcements, there has been little detail from the Government about the likely contents of tomorrow night's budget. Based on past experience, the NSW Government’s budget papers will reveal little – the state having one of the least transparent reporting systems in the Commonwealth.
ICT is rarely mentioned specifically in budget speeches and papers. It takes a forensic analysis of the material to tease out the latent IT that might be involved in infrastructures projects etc. The difficulty of understanding where opportunities might be within the budget context is true of all state budgets, and of NSW in particular. An agency-by-agency, line-by-line analysis is required to understand the budget in order to frame sales/marketing strategies for the 2008-09 year.