A strengthening Sydney property market and one-off revenue rises have lifted the NSW budget out of deficit in its last financial year.
Treasurer Mike Baird told parliament on Tuesday the final budget position for the state in 2012/13 was a $239 million surplus. That’s compared to a $374 million deficit the government said it was expecting when it handed down its budget in June.
“That’s a good news story for the people of NSW,” he told parliament.
Mr Baird said the “modest” improvement was largely due to higher than expected stamp duty receipts which added around $198 million to the budget bottom line.
“The housing sector is certainly rebounding back,” the treasurer said.
He warned against reading too much into the numbers, pointing to a number of “one-off” factors that led to the $613 million turnaround.
That includes the government’s lease of ports Botany and Kembla, which delivered a one-off transfer duty receipt of $215 million.
But he said $50 million of “responsible” spending cuts made by the coalition government had contributed to the turnaround.
The surplus result also reduced the risk of NSW losing its triple-A credit rating, Mr Baird said. Last week, agency Standard & Poor’s decided to keep the state’s rating on negative outlook.
Mr Baird warned with economic conditions remaining soft, there was “plenty of work to do” before the state was on a path to a “sustainable” surplus position.