The Education Department’s CEO, Chris Robinson, had refused to answer questions from a Parliamentary Committee about Budget cuts recommended by the Rann Government’s Sustainable Budget Commission.
“This was despite the Under Treasurer and the Health Department CEO both recently answering similar questions for their departments,” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“The Health Department’s CEO, Dr Tony Sherbon, told the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee that the SBC had required annual savings cut options of $450 million per year by 2013/14.
“The Under Treasurer, Jim Wright, also told the Committee the equivalent figure for Treasury was $50 million per year.
“Whilst Mr Robinson conceded there was an “additional savings requirement” over the already publicly known $50-$60 million per year in cuts by 2013/14, he would not reveal the extent of the additional savings options requirement for Education.
“It is impossible to understand and accept the reasons why Mr Robinson should refuse to answer similar questions to those which had been already answered by the Under Treasurer and Health Department CEO.
“Information provided to the Liberal Party indicates the actual Budget cuts in Education will be well in excess of $100 million per year by 2013/14.
“The only way cuts of this magnitude could be achieved would be through significant cuts in school programmes and also a significant number of school closures.”
Mr Robinson also revealed in evidence that:
• There were still 49 surplus teachers in the Education Department;
• The Education Department had saved $7.4 million in 2009/10 by removing interest on funds held by schools in their accounts;
• More than $500 million of the total $900 million BER funding had not been spent by 30 June 2010 and virtually all of it should be spent by March 2011; and,
• Some of the BER deadlines could not be met and the Federal Government had agreed to extending deadlines.