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The newly minted Treasurer of NSW has warned of “difficult to avoid” costs before handing down its first budget this year. Indeed, the pressures are intense enough that Treasurer Daniel Mookhey and Finance Minister Courtney Houssos have announced the budget will be handed down in September rather than in June.
Among the many cost blow-outs are a number of projects and agencies that were not adequately budgeted for by the previous government.
And among those is Cyber Security NSW, whose budget runs out in 2024–25.
“Extension would enable continued delivery of services in enhancing NSW customer resilience to cyber threats and support delivery of government cyber security services,” a paper on budget challenges read, as shared by The Guardian reporter Peter Hannam on Twitter.
Extending the agency’s budget to 2025–26 will cost an additional $70 million, according to NSW Treasury figures.
Other projects listed as inadequately funded include the provision for 1,112 extra nursing roles and a shortfall in out-of-home care costs. These two items are expected to cost over $1 billion alone.
“We are inheriting significant economic challenges and difficult-to-avoid pressures on the budget, including unfunded government programs like Cyber Security NSW, for example,” said Treasurer Mookhey in a statement.
“We also know that the former government has handed over to us the largest debt in our state’s history.
“We have high inflation, higher interest rates, historic debt — and this is about painting a full and honest picture of what is really going on.”
Despite the grim picture, Finance Minister Houssos believes honesty is the best policy.
“There’s also a range of programs across government that are unfunded beyond a short time frame, some of which have been publicly outlined in recent weeks,” she said.
“The Treasurer and I will work through those over the coming weeks and months, but we’re being upfront and honest with the people of New South Wales about the pressures we are inheriting.”
Cyber Security NSW recently released its 2022 Year in Review, which explains the scope of the agency’s operations, including pen-testing, threat reporting, and monitoring 985 government websites for defacement and site-takeover attacks.
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