The West

Barnett silent on spending problem
Barnett silent on 'spending problem'

The Opposition has accused Premier Colin Barnett of being missing in action for failing to publicly address the State’s latest credit rating downgrade.

Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt criticised Mr Barnett for being happy to appear at Government House with governor-designate Kerry Sanderson yesterday but not take media questions on the downgrade by ratings agency Moody’s from AAA to AA1.

Mr Barnett has also not faced the press today after leaving it to Treasurer Mike Nahan to front the cameras yesterday.

“Where is Colin in respect of the State’s finances,” Mr Wyatt said.

“It’s time for Colin Barnett to come out of his palace and start explaining to the people of WA what is his long term fiscal plan to stabilise debt and return WA to a AAA credit rating.

“It’s time for Mr Barnett to come out and admit he’s got a problem, he’s got a spending problem.”

Moody’s warned there could be further cuts in the State’s credit rating if there was no strengthening in the “Government’s resolve” in managing the finances.

Dr Nahan yesterday said he couldn’t see the State regaining a AAA rating unless there was an improved distribution of GST to WA, which currently gets 37c in the dollar and faces projections of just 11c in the dollar within a few years.

Mr Wyatt said that was a “cop out” because GST forecasts had been well known before major spending decisions had been made.

“Mr Barnett is spending the money he wishes he had rather than the money he’s got,” he said.

“Mr Barnett has had strong revenue growth during his premiership, he has made the spending decisions. Stop blaming everybody else and start owning your own decisions and come out and tell us what your plan is.”

The West Australian

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