Posted on 26. May, 2014 in News

Denis Napthine’s budget surplus has been revealed to be smoke and mirrors.

The Abbott Government is planning to hand over $1 billion of the $3 billion contribution to the East West Tunnel before 30 June, allowing Denis Napthine to turn a $65 million deficit into a $935 million surplus for 2013-14.

But a Federal Government Senate Estimates Committee meeting was told today that if Denis Napthine does not produce a business case for the dud tunnel, he will have to give the money back.

A total of $3 billion in Commonwealth grants for the tunnel hang in the balance, waiting on a business case that does not exist yet.

Four days before the Federal election, at the National Press Club, Mr Abbott said no infrastructure projects worth more than $100 million would be funded without a “published cost-benefit analysis” and said:

“We want to see a rolling 15-year list of our national infrastructure priorities created by Infrastructure Australia; obviously to do that Infrastructure Australia will be working very closely with the state governments and the state infrastructure bodies where they exist and all of the projects on the rolling list that we wish to create should be backed by a published cost benefit analysis,” he said. “I have given a commitment that we won’t spend more than $100 million on any single infrastructure projects without a published cost benefit analysis.” – Reported in the Age September 27, 2013.

Quotes attributable to Mr Pallas:

“Denis Napthine’s Budget is teetering on the edge – his claims of a surplus are in tatters.”

“If Denis Napthine’s dud tunnel blows a hole in Victoria’s finances, our schools and hospitals will be on the chopping block.”

“Tony Abbott will either break his word or break Denis Napthine’s Budget.”

Key facts:
• The Napthine Government is claiming a budget surplus of $935 million for 2013-14, but this includes a $1 billion advance from Tony Abbott for the second stage of East-West Link – a project that will not start construction for at least 18 months.

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