03/09/2008 - 15:45

Liberal election promises to cost $1.8bn

03/09/2008 - 15:45


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Shadow treasurer Troy Buswell has revealed that Liberal Party election promises made throughout the campaign will cost about $1.8 billion.

Shadow treasurer Troy Buswell has revealed that Liberal Party election promises made throughout the campaign will cost about $1.8 billion.

The report estimates the figure, spent over a four-year period, is made up of about $1.14 billion in recurring expenditure and $662 in new capital spend.

The Liberals have identified $102 million in savings above the government's already announced three per cent efficiency dividend across the government sector.

The new savings would slash the premier's policy and media offices by 25 per cent and the media and marketing units of other departments and agencies by one third.

They would also cut the use of consultants by $5 million a year.

"These are savings which specifically attack the spin machine that (Premier) Alan Carpenter and the government have set up around them," Mr Buswell told reporters today.

Asked whether $102 million in savings gave credence to the Liberals' pledge to bring fiscal discipline to government, Mr Buswell said an economic audit committee would review the state's finances.

"I have great confidence that committee will help re-establish decent, sound expenditure management in Western Australia."

The new spending would lift net debt over four years from $9 billion to just over $11 billion.

Mr Buswell said this would amount to 42.6 per cent of revenue, below the 43.9 per cent previewed in the May budget and enough to maintain WA's AAA credit rating.

The Liberal's costing estimates were reviewed by chartered accountants WHK Horwath and WA's treasury department assessed the opposition's aggregate costings.

But treasury was not asked to analyse individual commitments.

Mr Buswell said this was not necessary as it was standard practice for oppositions to have "independent" firms assess their costings.

He said treasury did not review Labor's costings when it was in opposition.

"We have nothing to hide," he said.

"It is not an unusual process in any way, shape or form.

"The document here is rigorous, the document in aggregate form has been checked by treasury, so we make sure we are providing a sound financial plan for the future of Western Australia."

At the last election, Opposition Leader Colin Barnett refused to acknowledge a $200 million error in his policy costings document.

Mr Buswell assured journalists that this time there were no mistakes.

The Liberals' new spending would cut the 2008-09 budget surplus estimate from $1.93 billion to $1.776 billion and from $995 million to $608 million in 2011-12.

Mr Buswell would not specify where the Liberals already announced $250 million in tax cuts would go, although payroll tax and stamp duty are likely to come under the spotlight.

Treasurer Eric Ripper has yet to release costings for the Labor Party's election promises.


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