Posted on 27. Sep, 2010 in News

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu today failed to meet today’s 5pm deadline to submit his bushfire policies to the Department of Treasury and Finance for costing – an offer extended by the Victorian Government.

Treasurer John Lenders said in an unprecedented move the Brumby Labor Government had written to the Opposition offering the full resources of the Victorian treasury to Mr Baillieu to help him cost his promise to implement every recommendation of the Bushfires Royal Commission.

“Mr Baillieu has never had to budget for anything in his life which is why he is afraid to have his policies costed by the Victorian Treasury,” Mr Lenders said.

“Mr Baillieu has refused to cost a single cent of his bushfire policies even though they are potentially worth billions of dollars.

“Mr Baillieu repeatedly said he would adopt all recommendations of the Bushfire Royal Commission before he had even seen them, committing the State to unknown billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money should he win November’s election.

“Just like Tony Abbott, Mr Baillieu is trying to avoid scrutiny on his costings because deep down he knows he’s putting the state’s budget at risk.”
“Mr Baillieu is too weak and lazy to release his costings but he cannot be allowed to keep hiding from scrutiny when he is promising to spend billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.”

Mr Lenders said Mr Baillieu had announced that he would implement all 67 of the Bushfire Royal Commission’s recommendations including home acquisitions in bushfire areas and putting powerlines underground, but had failed to say what it would cost.
“Mr Baillieu also needs to explain if the money for these policies will come from higher taxes or higher electricity bills,” Mr Lenders said.
“I’m not going to do his homework for him – he’s going to have to do the hard work to cost his own policies and release them to the public.”

On 30 August Mr Baillieu suggested on ABC radio that he wouldn’t be costing his bushfire election promises at all and would effectively be asking Victoria’s taxpayers for a blank cheque:
JOSEPH THOMSEN: On the voluntary property buyback you are committing to that one – the government’s not – have you costed it?

TED BAILLIEU: I, I, I, it’s, it’s not something you can cost in the short term, certainly not from Opposition.
“The Brumby Labor Government has risen to the challenge of the bushfires with our $867.3 million bushfire package but Mr Baillieu is trying to hide from scrutiny by hiding the bill for his promises until after the election,” Mr Lenders said.

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