In a script worthy of the Yes Minister TV series, it has been revealed South Australia’s Treasury Department doesn’t have an economic forecasting unit.
“It is bizarre and simply defies logical explanation that Premier Weatherill and Treasurer Koutsantonis could have decided South Australia’s Treasury should probably be the only Treasury in Australia not to have its own economic forecasting unit,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Economic forecasting is obviously a critical part of the whole budget process – for example, forecasts of economic growth and jobs growth clearly determine forecasts of tax revenue growth.
“Prior to the last election Mr Weatherill removed the specialist economic forecasting unit from Treasury and placed it in his Department of Premier and Cabinet. This decision was contrary to Treasury’s advice.
“After the election, Treasury again raised the issue of regaining its economic forecasting unit but Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis again decided to leave the unit in DPC.”
Treasury’s frustration at this bizarre decision is clear in evidence Under Treasurer Brett Rowse gave to the Budget and Finance Committee this week:
Rob Lucas: “Are you the only Under Treasurer that doesn’t have an economic forecasting section?”
Brett Rowse: “Possibly.”
Rob Lucas: “So there’s been no discussion at all with you about moving the economic forecasting branch back into your area?”
Brett Rowse: “Clearly it was one of the issues which we raised with the new Treasurer…”
“It is time to end the farce and for Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis to return this economic forecasting unit to its rightful home in Treasury,” said Mr Lucas.