22/07/2009 - 06:51

State expenses increase by $2bn

22/07/2009 - 06:51

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Opposition spokesperson Ben Wyatt says the state's finances are in disarray after the latest monthly treasury figures show government expenses had increased by $2 billion.

State expenses increase by $2bn

Opposition spokesperson Ben Wyatt says the state's finances are in disarray after the latest monthly treasury figures show government expenses had increased by $2 billion.

In the General Government Finances report released yesterday, the Department of Treasury and Finance reported total expenses of $17.2 billion for the 11 months to the end of May 2009.

The figure is about 13 per cent, or $2 billion, higher than the previous corresponding period.

"This is extraordinary and shows the state's finances are a train wreck," Mr Wyatt said.

"This report clearly shows that Labor's boom time buffer surplus of $2.6 billion has been completely wiped out."

The higher expenses were attributed to higher salary costs, particularly in the health, education and law service sectors, and higher current and capital transfers such as increased funding for non-government schools and a lift in First Home Owners grants.

The government recorded an operating surplus of $31 million for the 11 months to the end of May, a figure the DTF said is hard to "draw firm conclusions about the implications" this would have for the full-year result.

In the May state budget, the government had projected a full-year operating surplus of $647 million.

For the month of May alone, the general government sector recorded a $213 million operating deficit, down from the $303 million reported for April.

Revenue was up from $1.32 billion in April to $1.48 billion, driven higher by increased Commonwealth grants.

Expenses for May were slightly higher, totalling $1.7 billion.

"The latest report shows the Barnett government has failed to reign in spending and has failed to achieve its three per cent budget cuts" Mr Wyatt said, who again called for the government to produce a mini-budget.

"Western Australians deserve the right to have confidence in the spending and debt estimates contained in the state's finances."

 

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