Economic recovery plan unveiled as NSW records 372 new local COVID-19 cases

It's a jump in numbers after three consecutive days of fewer than 300 cases.

Members of the public sit at outdoors dining areas in the central business district (CBD) of Sydney, Monday, 18 October, 2021.

Members of the public sit at outdoors dining areas in the central business district (CBD) of Sydney, Monday, 18 October, 2021. Source: AAP

The New South Wales government has unveiled a $2.8 billion plan to help the state's economy bounce back from the "once-in-a-lifetime economic catastrophe" of the pandemic.

New Treasurer Matt Kean on Thursday unveiled his economic recovery plan, as the state recorded 372 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and one death. 

After three consecutive days of fewer than 300 cases, the figure recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday jumped by 89. There are 523 patients in hospital, 124 of whom are in intensive care.

About 92.5 per cent of NSW residents aged 16 and over have had one vaccine dose and 82.3 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Mr Kean revealed the state's stay-at-home restrictions - which lasted 106 days in some areas - cost the economy $1.9 billion per week at their peak.

He says his stimulus package will rebuild consumer confidence and target support to industries hard-hit by restrictions, but ultimately, its aim is to "leave no one behind".

"We know this was a once-in-a-lifetime economic catastrophe in NSW, but because of our strong health strategy, because of this economic recovery strategy, I'm confident we'll be able to bounce back better," he told reporters.

The package includes a well-deserved reward for parents, said Dominic Perrottet, who has touted himself as "the premier for families".

In an expansion of the state's voucher incentives, $250 per household with be provided to parents of school-age children to spend on accommodation from March.

That comes on top of $50 accommodation vouchers for every adult in the state announced on Wednesday, and the two extra $25 Dine and Discover vouchers already promised.

"This program is a big thank you to parents. Every parent who has homeschooled knows the enormous sacrifices and how challenging it's been during the (past) three months," Mr Perrottet said.

"We want you to get out with your kids, or take some respite from them and go out with your partner, and enjoy the best that NSW has to offer."

The premier rejected concerns the package's headline measure left out large swathes of the community, who also deserve a reward, like teachers who don't have children of their own.

"There is something in this economic recovery package for everyone," he said.

"It is the most extensive economic recovery plan in the country by a long long way."

Big ticket items in the package include a $66 million alfresco dining package, $50 million for the performing arts sector and $300 million to fund a COVID-19 learning support program.

Some $480 million will be spent on new housing or refuges for people fleeing domestic violence, while $130 million will go towards bolstering mental health services.

With 250,000 jobs lost during lockdown, $100 million has been set aside for helping job seekers to retrain or upskill.

"We still expect that the job figures in December, which will reflect the September quarter, will be bad," Mr Kean said.

"We're expecting an unemployment rate of around 6.4 per cent.

"However, with the easing of restrictions and the pent up demand, and the economic strategy that we've just outlined, we believe that we can recover all the lost jobs."

Published 21 October 2021 at 9:39am, updated 21 October 2021 at 2:11pm
Source: AAP - SBS