Under Treasurer Jim Wright today confirmed that for the third consecutive Budget year, the Health Department had overspent its budget by between $50 million and $100 million, Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“In evidence to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee, Mr Wright today confirmed that the Health Department had again overspent its budget by somewhere between $50 million and $100 million. This comes after a $94 million blowout in 2006-07 and a $70 million blowout in 2007-08,” Mr Lucas said.
“Things are so bad in the Health Department that Mr Wright admitted that ‘Health didn’t know how many people they had’!”
Hon R Lucas: “How does this committee and the parliament have confidence in the budget figures and financial management if the biggest agency doesn't know how many people it has?
Mr J Wright: “I agree, but we have done a lot of work to correct that, and we're getting pretty close. We still have some issues that we are following through.”
“In further evidence today on the Rann Government’s controversial Shared Services Office project, Mr Wright admitted that the Rann Government had fallen $28 million short of the $35 million supposed savings for this year for the project,” he said.
“He also admitted the budget forward estimates for the next three years were based on shortfalls of $27 million continuing for each of those three years. Although Mr Wright did state that they hoped to do better than that!
“Given the controversy this project has caused, it is unbelievable that it has saved taxpayers only $7 million per year. Mr Wright has also taken ‘on notice’ a number of other questions on “dead rent” and total implementation costs for the project.
“These examples today further highlight the slack financial management of the Rann Government, and Mr Foley as Treasurer has to accept full responsibility,” Mr Lucas said.
“Spending all his time patting himself on the back is no substitute for the hard task of managing a budget.”