Evidence given to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee confirmed that after only three months the Health Department was facing another budget blowout of about $80 million.
“Under Treasurer Jim Wright told the Committee that the regular monthly monitoring meetings between the Treasury and Health Departments had been told that Health’s estimate of the budget blowout for this year was already a staggering $78 million,” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“Mr Wright also confirmed that last year’s Health blowout was actually $144 million, and not $120 million as reported by Health Department CEO Tony Sherbon.”
Mr Lucas said the recent history of Health Department blowouts now showed:
Year Budget Blowout
2006-07 $93 million
2009-10 (est.) $78m
“This is damning evidence of a Labor budget spiralling out of control,” Mr Lucas said.
“Treasurer Kevin Foley clearly has no idea what to do and has just put his “cue in the rack” and started writing blank cheques for the Health Department to spend.
“It is also now clear that Government claims that they are delivering on savings outlined in the budget and in particular have delivered 93 per cent of the savings outlined in the 2006-07 Budget are wrong.
“Mr Wright did not dispute evidence from agencies such as Health and Families and Communities that they have not delivered on a number of their savings tasks.
“The fact that both Health and Families and Communities have had massive budget blowouts in recent years makes it clear they have not been meeting their budget savings tasks.”
Other issues raised at the Committee include:
• Total taxpayers money wasted on the late cancellation of the prisons project might be as much as $15 million including possibly as much as $10 million compensation to the three bidders even though there was no legal obligation to do so;
• Bidders for the $1.7 billion hospital project would have to sign undertakings not to use any confidential information on the missing USB computer stick if they received a copy of it;
• Whether the annual payment to the successful PPP consortium for the Super Schools should be kept confidential or not especially given there was a specific clause in the Project Deed that allowed the figure to be given for Parliamentary accountability purposes;
• Treasury couldn’t confirm that the Government had actually achieved the cut of 1571 jobs it announced in the 2006-07 Budget; and,
• The difficulty with establishing the actual number of employees in Health continued after an adjustment upwards of about 800 FTE employees had to be included in last year’s Budget Papers.