Liberal Member of the Legislative Council Rob Lucas said today that Treasurer Kevin Foley had been left red-faced after an embarrassing blunder as he attempted to defend his beleaguered Shared Services Centre proposal.
“In a statement issued to the media Mr Foley claimed that I had falsely stated that the State Government was trying to save $130m through shared services,” Mr Lucas said.
In fact, Mr Foley is quoted as follows:
“He’s just made up the $130m figure. It does his standing as a former Treasurer no good at all to be so wildly inaccurate.”
“Mr Foley should look at his own Budget Paper No. 3, Pg. 2.3 from 2006/07 which lists $130m in budget savings from shared services!
“Mr Foley should also look at his own answer recorded in Hansard from 18 October 2006:
Mr Griffiths: So how has the Government determined and identified the $130m of savings to 2009-10 with the implementation costs of $60m associated with shared services?
Mr Foley: Well because we have done a lot of work…we have had Treasury looking at it; we have had DAIS looking at it; and we have had Greg Smith looking at it. All of that work has been consolidated into a piece of advice that has provided the Government with those recommendations and that is what we are working on.
“And if Mr Foley doesn’t believe his own budget papers or his own words he could look at the following statement (14 December 2006) from his Premier when he appointed Michael Wright as Minister for Finance:
“The initiative will deliver savings of $25 million in 2007/08, $45 million in 2008/09 and $60 million from 2009/10 onwards.”
“Mr Foley’s claim that Ms Vardon’s (CEO of the Department of Families and Communities) evidence to the Budget and Finance Committee was referring to a nine month old memo from the Under-Treasurer last year is also wrong.
“In fact, Ms Vardon’s evidence made it clear that she had been negotiating with Treasury over the shared services savings issue and she made it quite clear that ‘we had a conversation with the Under-Treasurer’ and she recounted the exact words used by the Under-Treasurer in the conversation with her.
“It is clear Mr Foley is becoming increasingly rattled as the blow-torch is applied to him and the accuracy of some of the figures in his Budget Papers.
“The important work of the Legislative Council’s Budget and Finance Committee will continue to monitor the accuracy of some of Mr Foley’s claims included in the Budget Papers.”