Premier must explain Budget black hole

Tasmanian Labor

Peter Gutwein owes Tasmanians an explanation about how he plans to fund a range of government commitments, which are not funded in the Budget papers.

Shadow Treasurer Shane Broad said the Liberals committed during Budget Estimates last week to hundreds of millions of dollars in additional spending that isn’t currently in the Budget papers.

“The Budget showed that Tasmania will be borrowing $2 million a day, every day, for the next four years,” Dr Broad said.

“Yet, during Budget Estimates, Liberal Ministers explicitly committed to hundreds of millions of dollars in additional spending.

“For example, the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence committed to maintain family violence funding at current levels of nearly $15 million a year, even though the budget papers currently show zero funding.

“Other commitments since the Budget include upgrades to the Royal Hobart Hospitals’ emergency department, new youth justice facilities, an independent EPA and a renegotiation of the AFL deals.

“As well, the Primary Industries Minister – when questioned about why current funding for AgriGrowth dropped by nearly $8 million over the forward estimates – said “it will appear in the out years once we get there”.

“During the election campaign, the Premier told anyone who would listen that the Budget would return to an operating surplus in two years, yet after the election, he handed down a Budget that pushed out the return to an operating surplus to 2023 – 24.

“With our debt going up every year by hundreds of millions of dollars, Tasmanians know we are definitely not back in the black.

“Has this government cooked the books to claim it will be back in the black, when in fact it is getting deeper and deeper in the red?

“Peter Gutwein can’t keep avoiding answering these questions. Either there is a massive black hole in the Budget or these important programs won’t actually receive the funding Liberal Ministers have said they would.

“Tasmanians deserve to know the truth.”

Shane Broad MP

Shadow Treasurer

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