The Liberal Party’s spending commitments would add an extra $1.2 billion to State debt over and above existing projections in the current budget cycle while eroding future budget surpluses by $617 million to June 2016, according to WA Treasury.
But Treasury warns the Liberals also face a further Budget hole of $539 million over the same period if Premier Colin Barnett keeps his word and holds future electricity price rises to the level of inflation.
And Treasury has also revealed the Liberals assume they will be able to secure $3 billion of Federal funding for its $4.8 billion of major transport projects, including 80 per cent of the cost of the airport rail line.
Treasury’s costings advice does not include the impact of $840 million of promises made by the Liberals’ partner in Government, the National Party, after it refused to submit it election commitments by Monday’s 5pm deadline.
The Liberals submitted 108 individual election commitments to Treasury for verification. Labor submitted just its Metronet public transport plan, while the Nationals submitted nothing.
After putting a price tag on Metronet at $1.4 billion higher than Labor’s costing, Treasury also identified higher costs for the Liberals’ MAX light rail and airport rail line than the party projected – albeit to a much smaller degree.
Treasury said the airport rail line, including railcars, would cost an escalated $2.015 billion compared to the Liberals’ $1.895 billion.
Treasury said MAX would cost $1.882 billion compared to the Liberals’ $1.8 billion.
However, Treasury flagged the Liberals’ funding plan, which assumes $3 billion of funding would be secured for the $4.8 billion transport projects, including the $830 million Perth-Darwin Highway, as a risk.
As he did yesterday in releasing advice on Labor’s financial plan, Under Treasurer Tim Marney warned that the Liberals’ plans substantially reduced future surpluses at a time when the budget was at risk from volatile iron ore royalties and ballooning debt.
“Overall, the Liberal Party’s cost estimates for its election commitments are considered reasonable,” Treasury said. “They have been based on a sound information set and methodologies.”
Treasurer Troy Buswell said Treasury’s analysis showed the Liberals’ election commitments would have a more modest impact on the budget and debt than Labor’s plan.
“While Labor asserts its commitments were fully costed by Treasury, they have simply provided eight figures with no detail on specific promises,” Mr Buswell said.
“We don’t know what commitments they have included or how much they have costed them at. And we don’t know what their alleged savings are.
“What we do know is that the only one they have subjected to scrutiny is their rail plan which is at least $1.4billion more than they costed it at.
“On this basis, it would be fair to assume the rail plan isn’t the only commitment they haven’t added up correctly.
“In stark contrast the Liberal Party’s promises have undergone independent, rigorous analysis by Treasury.
“There is no multi-billion-dollar black-hole in our costings today.”Shadow Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the Liberal Party's election promises proved "nothing more than fiction", based on the assumption they would be paid for by the Federal Government.
“Not only is this the height of irresponsibility, it is utterly unbelievable and proves that Mr Barnett has no intention of delivering on his public transport promises," Mr Wyatt said.
“Further, the estimated total net debt impact of $1.2billion can only be believed if Mr Barnett intends to break his promise to keep electricity prices at the rate of inflation."
Mr Wyatt said the public was entitled to assume that when political parties announce election promises during an election campaign, they will also assume responsibility for paying for them.“Mr Barnett has made his election promises subject to a condition he knows will never be met," he said.
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