'Rainy day' raids to fund Vic poll pledges

Victoria's major parties have vowed to finance their big-spending election agendas by dipping into "rainy day" funds instead of introducing new taxes.

Labor and the coalition unveiled their election policy costings on Thursday, less than 48 hours before polling day.

The coalition's financial statement, prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Office, projects the state budget will return to a modest surplus of $2.1b by 2024/25, a full financial year ahead of Labor.

It also forecasts net debt will be $10.4b lower than the $165.9b set out in the pre-election budget update released earlier this month.

To help pay down Victoria's mounting debt, the coalition wants to raid $10.4b from Victoria's Future Fund if elected on Saturday.

The fund was set up after the Andrews government's $7.9b, 40-year commercialisation of VicRoads registration, licensing and custom plates services.

Shadow Treasurer David Davis said it would save $775 million in interest payments on state debt over the forward estimates.

The document shows the coalition plans to use $7.6b of "budgeted continencies", save $5b on eliminating waste through "improved financial controls" and shift $1.5b from Labor programs to its initiatives.

The Liberal Nationals have also revived their 2018 plan to lease Melbourne's sewage treatment services for 50 years in the hopes of a $6.6b windfall.

But Mr Davis insists the arrangement isn't privatising a public asset.

"We regard that as a lease and believe it's a sensible step," he told reporters.

Despite chastising Labor for not providing a debt figure in its statement, Mr Davis could not indicate a total cost for the coalition's 94 election commitments with financial implications.

Earlier, Labor ruled out any new taxes to fund its commitments but offered no start date for the rollout of cash for more than $5 billion worth of its initiatives.

The party's financial statement shows Labor forecasts a budget surplus of $1 billion for the 2025/26 financial year - $135 million higher than in the pre-election budget update.

"Labor's election commitments are fully funded without privatisation, increasing net debt or introducing new taxes," Treasurer Tim Pallas said.

It plans to finance 81 promises by drawing down on $2.6b of "output contingencies" and $1b of "net offsets" including cracking down on tax avoidance and reducing labour hire and consultant costs.

A further $3b would be clawed back by delaying payments into a fund set up to meet the state's unfunded superannuation liabilities from the 1990s.

All up, Labor's election initiatives total $8.24b, including $1.6b on jobs, $4b on health, $2b on transport, $934 million on education and $275m on fairness.

No precise timeline has been set down for the allocation of at least $5.86b of those promises over the forward estimates to 2026/27, including Labor's plan to build to a new hospital at Maroondah in Melbourne's outer east.

Other measures without specific annual funding allocations include Labor's $1b-plus hospitals plan for Melbourne's north, $601m earmarked for more regional train services and $44m set aside for extra PET scanners in hospitals.

Mr Pallas said the lack of a funding timeline for the scanners didn't indicate the project wouldn't be delivered in those years.



* Total cost of election commitments: $8.24b

* Net debt by June 2026: Not supplied

* First surplus: 2025/26, $1b


* Total cost of election commitments: Not supplied

* Net debt by June 2026: $155.6b, $10.4b lower than latest budget forecast

* First surplus: 2024/25, $2.1b