Labor’s election spending commitments would add an extra $1.7 billion to State debt and erode future budget surpluses by a combined $1.25 billion to June 30, 2016, according to WA Treasury.
And that is assuming the party’s own spending assumptions are correct, with Treasury saying it had been unable to independently verify its commitments because Labor refused to submit the details of its policies, other than the Metronet public transport plan, for analysis.
Instead, Labor submitted aggregate capital and recurrent spending figures for each of the four years of the budget cycle.
Labor’s numbers assume all savings from a range of projects it says it will cancel, move or defer – including an assumed $250 million saving by moving the football stadium to Subiaco – will be delivered.
Treasury said Labor’s plan would erode the surplus by $10 million this year, $233 million in 2013-14, $438 million in 2014-15 and $574 million in 2015-16.
This comes amid a stark warning from Under Treasurer Tim Marney that spending needs to be reined in and large budget surpluses delivered to protect against iron ore revenue volatility and to minimise the growth of WA’s ballooning debt.
Treasury will release its analysis of the Liberal Party’s spending commitments tomorrow.
Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt claimed Treasury’s analysis showed Labor’s promises were affordable because surpluses were still being projected in each of the Budget out years.
“Whilst operating surpluses across the forward estimates are lower than estimated in the Pre-Election Financial Statements, WA will remain in surplus each year across the forward estimates,” Mr Wyatt said.
“WA Labor also takes particular note of the warning from Treasury that the forward estimates of Western Australia are highly sensitive to volatile commodity prices”.
Treasurer Troy Buswell poured scorn on Labor, saying it had provided virtually no detail to Treasury in a “desperate” bid to avoid scrutiny.
“For years the Labor Party have been criticising the Government for borrowing money and increasing debt; yet what you have year is a set of commitments which will increase State net debt by $1.7 billion over four years,” Mr Buswell said.
“And that’s before you get into the heavy lifting around the delivery of their supposed (transport) infrastructure projects.”“Labor have provided Treasury with eight figures to try and justify their financial plan for the next four years. The Liberal Party have provided details to Treasury of 105 individual policy commitments. The Labor Party provided details of one commitment (Metronet) … which they made a mistake to the tune of $1.4 billion.”
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.