The West

A six-week ban on Government advertising and new stationery are among measures set to save the State Government nearly $100 million, Treasurer Troy Buswell has announced, warning the State’s coffers are dwindling.

Just hours before Federal treasurer Wayne Swan was to deliver a massive Federal Budget deficit, Mr Buswell revealed his own belt-tightening ahead of the end of the financial year.

Following billions of dollars worth of election promises on major projects including light and heavy rail projects and a new football stadium, the State Government now says it faces “unprecedented” financial pressures brought on by falling GST income, volatile royalties, and lower tax yields.

In response, Mr Buswell revealed a suite of cost-cutting measures including a temporary freeze on all Government advertising, and no spending on non-essential goods and services, including stationery, consultants and non-essential travel until after June 30.

The savings are estimated at $92 million.

“These measures are designed to ensure we live within our means - if we don’t take action now there is a risk the State Government’s expenditure will exceed our revenue,” Mr Buswell said.

“These new savings measures show the Government is prepared to make the tough decisions necessary to manage the State’s finances responsibly, while ensuring front line services to the public are not affected.”

The State economy is still estimated to grow by more than six per cent this year.

“Like any household or business, we need to live within our means and in the coming months we will be announcing longer-term reforms to change the way the State Government does business, to ensure we provide services as efficiently and effectively as we can,” Mr Buswell said.

WA’s State Budget is set to be handed down on August 8.

The West Australian

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