The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

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NINE DEPARTMENTS PREDICT BUDGET BLOWOUTS

Friday, 27 January 2006

Confidential Treasury documents provided to the State Government warn that nine departments have been predicting they will overspend their budget allocations this year, Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas has revealed.

These confidential documents were provided to Treasurer Foley for an Expenditure Review and Budget Cabinet Committee meeting on November 21 last year. The documents include the results of budget monitoring for the current financial year as at the end of August 2005.

One of the attachments in these documents includes the following information in a table on impacts of the budgets’ Net Operating Balance for 2005-06:

Agency (Column 1)
End of Year Est. 2005-06
On Track to stay within Budget? (Yes/No) (Column 2)
Projected Unapproved Variance ($000) (Fav/-Unfav) (Column 3)

DH No -11,000
DFC No -25,128
DECS No -8,000
DFEEST No -12
DTEI No -21,734
JUSTICE No -814
DAIS No -153
PIRSA Yes 698
DTED Yes 0
DEH No -44
DWLBC Yes 0
EPA Yes 0
DTF No -2,191
DPC Yes 0
TOURISM Yes 0
TOTAL No -68,378

“It is a matter of great concern that most departments, especially big departments such as Health, Education, Justice and Transport are all stating that they are not ‘on track’ to staying within their budget,” Mr Lucas said today.

“It is also embarrassing for Mr Foley that his own Department of Treasury and Finance is reporting it is not ‘on track’ to staying within its budget.

“Obviously the State Government has got so much money from the GST and their massive increases in state taxes and charges that, in addition to massive waste in expenditure (such as the $257m blowout in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital project), they have now just given up any pretence of trying to keep budgets under control.

“It needs to be remembered that the State Government is collecting $2300m more revenue this year compared to just four years ago. Even though money is being wasted and budgets are out of control, the fact that each year more revenue than was budgeted for is being collected means the state budget has been able to stay in balance.

“It is clear that any future Government that is prepared to cut down on Labor Government waste and overexpenditure will have plenty of funds available for possible tax relief and spending more on key government priorities such as mental health and disability services.

“Whilst the Liberal Party has received a number of significant leaks from within Treasury and other key agencies over the last four years, it is unprecedented for the Opposition to receive more than 400 pages of confidential material provided to a Budget Cabinet Committee.

“This must be an issue of major embarrassment for the Government and for Treasurer Foley in particular.”
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ROB LUCAS MLC

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