Young people and injured workers are among the biggest losers in a pre-election budget loaded with big infrastructure promises, but delivered at the expense of some of the State’s most vulnerable people, Unions NSW has warned.

The State’s peak union body said that despite youth unemployment approaching 20 per cent in some areas, 375 jobs were being cut from TAFE.

“There’s no point pledging to create apprenticeships on new infrastructure projects if there’s nowhere for them to learn,” Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said.

“This is a budget that puts essential community services under further pressure by continuing staffing cuts, ignores the local manufacturing industry through a lack of local procurement, and has also seen injured workers completely neglected.

“Premier Mike Baird and Treasurer Andrew Constance want to see less workers doing more work, which is inevitably bad for the delivery of community services.”

Mr Lennon said the NSW Government had been given an unprecedented opportunity to deliver a fairer budget, with revenues jumping $2.9 billion above what was forecast.

“Thousands of injured workers who have been stripped of medical benefits and weekly compensation payments have been left behind, with a surge in the profitability of the NSW WorkCover scheme used to benefit employers but not workers,” he said.

“WorkCover premiums have now been cut by 17.5 per cent, however the NSW Government has not provided a single cent of this windfall to workers struggling to survive after suffering debilitating injuries at work.”

Unions NSW also noted that capital expenditure was forecast to be higher this financial year than over the following three, with the big spend coinciding with an election a clear attempt to buy votes.

“We welcome boosts to infrastructure and transport spending, but this budget seems to be more about pork-barreling and promising big than genuinely delivering the services we need,” Mr Lennon said.

“The ongoing cuts to the public service also mean that while new infrastructure will be built, there won’t be the staff available to provide the additional services.

“Despite population growth and a strong economy putting additional pressure on the hard working public servants that make our state tick, the number of government sector employees has been cut by 1432 between June 2012 and June 2013, with 6,789 people made redundant as of the end of last year.

“Our public service is increasingly at breaking point, with front line police, nurses and teachers burdened with the increasing administration as support staff are cut.

“Emergency services such as Fire and Rescue NSW have also received real cuts to their budgets, meaning reduced staffing, services and expansion of temporary fire station closures as efficiency dividends continue to bite.”

Mr Lennon said unions also disagreed with the Treasurer’s statements that the money to build NSW must come from “recycling” existing infrastructure.

“The loss of long term revenue from these assets for a short-term gain can only leave a massive hole for future generations,” he said.

“A short-term high from selling off profitable publicly owned assets will inevitably lead to a future hangover as the dividends they currently provide are lost forever.”

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