Further evidence is emerging of the widespread implications of the Rann Government’s looming budget crisis and its unprecedented decision to delay the budget by four months, Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today.
“The latest evidence relates to tender processes and recruitment of staff for government departments and agencies,” Mr Lucas said.
“Information provided to the Liberal Party from within the Department for Administrative and Information Services (DAIS) indicates that the Rann Government has now had to halt all new tenders for capital works being signed or entered into until the key budget decisions have been taken.
“The Rann Government is trying to claim the freeze on tenders relates to Federal WorkChoices legislation.
“This claim is ridiculous and is clearly an attempt by the Rann Government to conceal the impact of the budget crisis. There is no evidence of Federal WorkChoices legislation causing freezes on capital works in other states.
“Senior Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) sources have confirmed that a number of projects have now been put on hold. For example, the long delayed $1.9 million project at Brighton Secondary School was ready to go to tender this month but the school was told that all tenders were being frozen and their project could not proceed at this stage.
“Senior public service sources have also confirmed that the Rann Government has also had to institute a virtual freeze on recruitment into the public service with appointments only being allowed on an exceptions basis.
“For example, a senior management position in the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) was advertised in The Advertiser on 1 May 2006 but last week all applicants for this position were advised that the position had now been ‘pulled’ because of a freeze on recruitment due to budget issues.
“It is obvious that a three- to four-month freeze on government tenders will have significant implications on the state’s construction industry and job and economic growth in South Australia.
“The Rann Government’s self-inflicted budget crisis has been created by Mr Rann and Mr Foley making a series of popular promises before the election knowing that they did not have the money to fund them.
“If the Rann Government persists with its decision to delay the budget until September, further evidence of major problems caused by this budget crisis will inevitably emerge.”