Massive capital budget blowouts combined with massive unfunded election promises have the Rann Government’s budget spinning wildly out of control, Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today.
This follows Mr Foley’s refusal to rule out delays in major transport and other infrastructure projects because of the cost blowouts.
“The fact the state budget has been delayed until September means Mr Rann and Mr Foley are now working out how many of their election promises they are going to break,” Mr Lucas said today.
“Information provided to the Opposition from senior public sector sources indicates the massive blowout in the capital works budget is now measured by ‘hundreds of millions’ and not ‘tens of millions’! Projects such as the Northern Expressway, South Road tunnels and other works, tramline extension and hospital upgrades are already massively over budget.
“The Liberal Party highlighted prior to the election the $257m cost blowout in the redevelopment of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. In the 2003-04 budget Stages 2 and 3 were costing $60m, but last estimates put the cost at $317m and growing! Whilst some of the blowout is due to increased scope of works, most of this increase is due to a blowout in costs and poor management by government.
“Treasurer Foley cannot use steel and concrete price rises as an excuse for the latest transport and infrastructure capital works cost blowouts because that was all well-known before the election when Mr Foley promised all their promises were fully funded and their capital works projects would be brought in on time and on budget.
“For example, all of these factors were well known when the Rann Government made their very popular $140m election promise for a South Road/Sturt Road underpass.
“These blowouts follow revelations the Rann Government was bringing in former Federal Treasury officer Greg Smith to find savings of up to 4% across all sectors to pay for unfunded election promises. This already broke a key election promise to quarantine health, education, police, correctional services, and families and communities from its promised 2% ‘efficiency dividend’.
“The Rann Government is now looking for scapegoats and already senior public servants are being blamed for these blowouts. The reality is Mr Rann, Mr Foley and Mr Conlon have to accept responsibility and they should not be allowed to get away with scapegoating public servants.
“The Liberal Party warned prior to the election that there was a massive black hole in Labor’s election promise costings. Sadly for South Australians, each passing day and each budget revelation confirms just how well-founded our fears were.”