Friday 12 May 2017
Budget blowouts, Budget paper lies from Labor
Today’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing heard admissions from Treasurer Tim Pallas that Labor’s infrastructure projects have again blown out in costs to Victorians.
The level crossing removal program was promised by Labor at $5 – $6 billion. Today, Tim Pallas admitted that the cost has already blown out to $6.9 billion.
This comes after a budget which conceded that the Melbourne Metro project – originally promised for $9 billion – has now blown out to $11.1 billion.
While budget blowouts were being exposed in PAEC, Tim Pallas’ use of budget papers to seek to re-write history was slapped down by his own departmental secretary.
Tim Pallas claimed in the 2017-18 budget papers that “Net debt as a percentage of GSP remains below the level of 6.2 per cent inherited by this Government”.
However, Department of Treasury and Finance Secretary David Martine confirmed that the state’s debt/GSP level at the 2014 election was 5.9%. Mr Martine noted that while he had signed off on the 2014 pre-election budget update, claims made in the 2017-18 budget papers were the responsibility of the government (i.e. not him).
With Victoria’s state debt set to soar by $10.8 billion under Labor, it is clear that Tim Pallas is very sensitive about his financial mismanagement being exposed.
Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer Michael O’Brien:
“Daniel Andrews’ two signature projects have suffered massive budget blowouts. Level crossing removals are out by $1 billion while Metro is out by $2.1 billion.
“With these budget blowouts it is little wonder that Victorians are paying the highest taxes in Australia.
“Governments are prone to spin but lying in budget papers is unprecedented.
“While Tim Pallas has reason to be embarrassed by Labor’s record on debt and budget blowouts, that is no excuse for making false statement in budget papers.”