Media Release: 01 October 2008: Labor election promises make a mockery of the Budget process say Democrats

ACT Democrats President
Candidate for Ginninderra

Labor election promises make a mockery of the Budget process say Democrats

“Re-cycling the Budget as election promises is becoming an art form. The Stanhope government is using “smoke-and-mirrors” style tricks to re-spend past and future budget allocations as election promises. Its quite dishonest to claim that the normal operating budget for the ACT is claimable as something special in an election context” said ACT Democrats President and candidate for Ginninderra, Darren Churchill

The total ACT General Government Sector annual budget this year is about $3.3 billion to cover everything the government has to do.

Last week the Canberra Times told us that Labor had racked up half a billion in election promises. Today’s Canberra Times tells us that Labor will now spend $1 billion on health.

“Over how many years is the current set of election promises being spread? How do we know what sort of amount Stanhope is really committing the Canberra ratepayers to?” questioned Mr Churchill.

The 2008 ACT Budget papers included;
‘Building the Future’, an unprecedented investment of
$1 billion in the Territory’s future, which, along with
the annual capital works program, provides for a total
capital investment program of almost $1.5 billion.
The Building the Future program supports the growth of
the economy whilst maintaining infrastructure standards
to promote productive capacity.
The 5-Year $1 billion program provides:
• $300 million for establishing a health system for the future;
• $250 m for an integrated transport system;
• $100 million for urban amenities;
• $100 million for climate change initiatives;
• $50 million for improvements to public service infrastructure; and
• $200 m capital works augmentation.

“Clearly this is what Stanhope is promising again now. So, the election promises add up to very little in the way of new money from what was in the budget. It’s sleight-of-hand!” declared Mr Churchill

“The Democrats have always been the defenders of accountability in government and there is another issue here apart from the budget recycling.” continued Mr Churchill. “This relates to whether these expenditure promises were ever intended as a real ACT budget or whether they were always intended as an “election year special” budget.”

“The Stanhope government spent $35,000 of taxpayers’ money with a mailout to homes to “explain” the budget, which I described at the time as a waste of money. Has the budget simply become the government’s election promises now that we are in an election period?” queried Mr Churchill. “Doesn’t that mean that the $35,000 mailout was government funded election material?”

“That’s a bit naughty of Mr Stanhope. Don’t you think?” concluded Mr Churchill

Darren Churchill
ACT Democrats President
Candidate for Ginninderra
Tel: 0412 196 473

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