Treasurer Foley has lost control of the State Budget and has obviously given up trying to stop Ministers from going on a spending spree just prior to the end of every year.
Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today that budget figures just released show that some Rann Government Ministers actually spent up to 83 per cent of their total capital works budget in the last month of the financial year.
“For example, Minister Weatherill spent 83 per cent of his total capital works budget in June 2005 and Minister Conlon also managed to spend $44 million of his total annual Transport capital budget in June,” Mr. Lucas said.
Figures for June 2005 and June 2006 show:
Agency (Column 1)
June 2005 or 2006 spending ($m) (Column 2)
June Spending (as % of total year spending) (Column 3)
Families and Communities 3.0 83.4
TransAdelaide 10.7 67.5
Transport 44.0 19.9
Hospitals/Health units 28.1 31.0
Metropolitan Fire Service 5.2 52.0
FEEST 3.5 39.6
Environment and Conservation 4.9 39.5
Treasury 0.6 48.7
“In some cases, the June 2006 spending percentage will be even higher as actual full year spending for the year may well be less than the estimated final capital spending figures for 2005-06 included in the 2006-07 budget papers.
“The Liberal Party has been warning the Rann Government about these June spending sprees for three years and Mr. Foley has done absolutely nothing to correct the situation.
“The Liberal Party has also been calling on the Auditor General to investigate these spending sprees and report on them to the Parliament. So far there has been no sign of a response from the Auditor General either.
“It is impossible to believe that there were valid reasons in all of these cases for agencies to be spending between 20 and 83 per cent of their total capital budget just prior to the end of the year.
“Given Mr. Foley’s inaction, this issue should be considered by the powerful new Budget and Finance Committee in the Legislative Council.
Mr. Lucas said the Budget and Finance Committee should seek answers to the following questions:
• Have any payments been made in June as pre-payments for services to be delivered at a later time?
• Has there been any organised process of paying accounts before the normal time frame for payment of accounts?
• Has spending been allocated to lower minority works out of any Minor Works budget just to ensure the money is spent?
• Whether Mr. Foley’s new ‘carryover’ policy is a major factor in Ministers and Departments going on spending sprees in June of each year; and,
• Whether all Treasurer’s Instructions and Government guidelines on spending have been complied with.
“The Rann Government is now the highest taxing Government in South Australia’s history and Mr. Foley has almost $3 billion a year more to spend than the last Government had in 2001/2002.
“This reckless spending spree by Ministers and departments is just another example of the massive waste of taxpayer’s money by the Rann Government.”