PREMIER CONFIRMS INDEPENDENCE OF TREASURY COSTINGS

PREMIER CONFIRMS INDEPENDENCE OF TREASURY COSTINGS

Posted on 12. Nov, 2010 in Election Media Release, News

Costing of election policies by the independent Department of Treasury and Finance was the only way Victorians could be assured that promises made during the election campaign were affordable and achievable, the Premier, John Brumby, said today.

Mr Brumby said strong financial management and budget discipline were crucial to maintaining the State’s AAA credit rating and budget surpluses, and keeping the jobs coming to Victoria.

“We have moved to establish a costings process that is independent, so that Victorians can be confident that the promises made in this election campaign are affordable and deliverable,” Mr Brumby said.

“This is the process that was in place for elections federally and the best way to provide the assurance to Victorians that any promises made will not threaten the State’s sound finances, the surpluses and our AAA credit rating.

“Fully costed and affordable election policies are crucial to providing a sound economic base for the State and crucial to keeping the jobs coming to Victoria.

Mr Brumby said that he was prepared to remove any requirement that the Premier’s Office receive election promises on behalf of the Department of Treasury and Finance.

“As with the Federal costing process and under the strictest interpretation of the caretaker conventions, the Premier’s Office was to act as the post box for election policies.” Mr Brumby said.

“Today I can announce that political parties can submit their policies direct to the Department of Treasury and Finance for independent costing.”

Political parties will be able to submit their policies to the independent Treasury by emailing all necessary information to electioncosting@dtf.vic.gov.au

The Treasurer, John Lenders, said he was concerned that just like in the Federal Election, the Liberal-National Opposition would seek to hide a massive funding black hole, exposing the State to the potential of cuts to services and jobs.

He said the Government had modelled the State Election costing process on the process established by former Prime Minister John Howard and current Liberal Party State Director Tony Nutt.

Today’s announcement removed the requirement, established by Mr Howard and Mr Nutt, for those policies to go first to the leader’s office before going to Treasury.

“There is now no excuse for Mr Baillieu and the Opposition to duck scrutiny of their election policies,” Mr Lenders said.

“Just yesterday, Mr Baillieu announced a commitment to new hospital beds, but he could not say where they would be built, who would staff them or where the funding was coming from.

“As Treasurer, I cannot sit by and watch the Opposition trash the hard work we have done to maintain the State’s AAA Budget and surpluses into the future.”

Mr Lenders said he was hoping to avoid a situation where taxpayers only found out the true cost of the Liberal and National parties’ promises after election day, as happened in the recent federal election.

“These guidelines ensure that all parties, whether in government or not, have access to costings by those best placed to do those costings – the independent Victorian Treasury,” Mr Lenders said.

“Under these guidelines the independent Victorian Treasury would cost each party’s election promises and make their findings public on their website for public scrutiny.

“Tony Abbott made a $10.6 billion error in his costings which he deliberately hid until after the election and I fear that Ted Baillieu is doing the same.”

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