The Hon Joe Hockey MP
The Hon Andrew Robb MP
Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction
Today we confirm our pledge: A Coalition Government will encourage strong economic growth and live within its means.
As a result Australians will have greater job security, reduced cost of living pressures and a Government with less debt and an improved Budget bottom line.
The Coalition will help to achieve this by pursuing a very significant infrastructure agenda while making responsible savings in the Budget by cutting Labor’s waste.
The Coalition’s infrastructure package forms the final part of the Coalition’s comprehensive economic plan to boost growth and jobs by cutting taxes, getting the budget back under control and boosting productivity.
The Coalition has already announced over $31 billion of savings, primarily from abolishing most of the spending measures associated with Labor’s Carbon and Mining Tax packages, as well as a number of other responsible savings. As previously indicated, these make up the great bulk of Coalition savings– as today’s figures confirm.
The Coalition today announces our last tranche of Budget savings totalling $9 billion. They build on the previously announced savings of over $31 billion. Together with modest adjustments for interest saved on reduced debt, these bring total savings announced by the Coalition to $42 billion in fiscal terms.
Committed Coalition expenditure including tax cuts, pension increases and increases in expenditure on health and education total just over $33 billion in fiscal terms.
As a result, on an underlying cash basis, the Budget impact of the Coalition’s policies is to improve the Budget bottom line by $6 billion and reduce Government debt by$16 billion.
In addition the Parliamentary Budget Office has advised that the Budget will improve by a further $1.1 billion as a result of the abolition of the carbon tax and the associated surge in economic growth, based on Treasury modelling of the macro economic impact of the carbon tax.
Today’s announcement also confirms that the Coalition will increase spending on hospitals, schools, defence and medical research – a far cry from the deceitful lies coming from the Prime Minister and the Labor Party that the Coalition would cut health and education.
It confirms once and for all that:
- There are no cuts to education, health, defence or medical research;
- There is no change to the GST;
- There is no “$10 billion fraud” as alleged by Kevin Rudd;
- There is no $70 billion black hole in the Coalition costings; and
- The Coalition will deliver a better budget bottom line than Labor.
All new spending commitments made by the Coalition have been more than fully offset by savings.
Ten of the last eleven budgets brought down by the Coalition were all surpluses, whereas
Every single one of Labor’s last eleven budgets have been deficits.
Only the Coalition will live within its means and get Australia back on the path of strong economic growth.
Election Costings Process
The Coalition’s election policy costings are the result of the most rigorous and systematic process for the costing of policies and savings ever undertaken by an Opposition in Australia.
This has involved a process of careful internal scrutiny, wide consultation with stakeholders, rigorous assessment by the Parliamentary Budget Office and a panel of review comprising three of the most eminent experts in public finance and administration in Australia.
These three eminent Australians have confirmed that they are of the opinion that the final policy costings provided by the Coalition in the attached tables are based on reasonable assumptions and calculations and, as such, represent a fair estimate of the net financial impact of those policies on the Federal Budget over the period 2013-14to2016-17, both on a cash and fiscal basis.
Today’s release completes the transparent process adopted by the Coalition to inform Australians about our policies and savings measures.
The Coalition has released over 700 pages of detailed policy documents– compared with less than 200 pages from Labor– and released the great bulk of its savings (around 75 per cent) on Wednesday last week, a full 10 days before the end of the campaign.
By contrast, Labor failed to fully release their costings yesterday, with costings of 13 polices yet to be verified by anyone other than themselves.
The Coalition’s policies are all fiscally responsible, fully paid for, and independently verified.
A key part of the Coalition’s economic strategy is a major infrastructure package, involving almost $5 billion of additional funding over the forward estimates period on key projects. Unlike Labor we have not shifted important projects well off into the “never-never”.
The Coalition will build the roads, bridges and freight rail projects desperately needed across Australia– both in our cities and in our regions.
If elected, the Coalition will start building immediately to kick-start economic growth, create jobs and ensure Australians receive the productivity benefits of this package sooner rather than later.
The Coalition has committed to over $20 billion in new or upgraded infrastructure projects. An elected Coalition Government would immediately start discussions with the Department of Treasury, State Governments and the private sector so the money can start flowing as soon as practical.
The Coalition’s positive infrastructure platform includes:
- $6.7 billion to fix Queensland's Bruce Highway;
- $1.5 billion to ensure the Westconnex project gets underway in Sydney;
- $405 million for the SydneyF3 to M2 link;
- $1.5 billion to commence construction for the East West Link in Melbourne;
- $1 billion to support the Gateway Motorway upgrade in Brisbane;
- $615 million to build the Swan Valley Bypass on the Perth to Darwin Highway;
- $686 million to build the Perth Gateway project;
- $500 million to support the upgrade of Adelaide's North-South Road Corridor;
- $400 million to upgrade the Midland Highway in Tasmania; and
- $5.6 billion to complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway from Newcastle to the Queensland border.
This infrastructure agenda will all be fully funded from a reprioritisation of existing budget resources and are duction in the growth of the foreign aid Budget.
It is unsustainable to continue massive projected growth in foreign aid funding whilst the Australian economy continues at below trend growth.
Australia needs a stronger economy today so that it can be more generous in the future.
The Coalition will cut the growth in foreign aid. We will index the increase to the Consumer Price Index.
Reductions in projected aid spending of $4.5 billion will be allocated to other Coalition policy priorities, including productive infrastructure such as Melbourne’s East West link ($1.5 billion), Sydney’s WestConnex ($1.5 billion) and the Brisbane Gateway Motorway upgrade ($1 billion).
The Coalition remains committed to the Millennium Development goal of increasing foreign aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI over time, but cannot commit to a date given the current state of the federal budget after six years of Labor debt and deficit.
As well, the Coalition will re-prioritise foreign aid allocations towards Non-Government Organisations that deliver on-the-ground support for those most in need.
Additional new savings
The Coalition has additional modest new savings including a rephasing of the Murray Darling Water Buyback Scheme ($650 million) to spread four years’ worth of spending over six years, and a further 0.25 per cent efficiency dividend on the public service ($428 million) through prudent limitations on Government advertising and consultancies as well as on Government travel.
An ambitious tax reduction agenda
The Coalition has already announced an ambitious tax reduction strategy that will boost growth and encourage job creation.
The Coalition will abolish Labor’s carbon tax – but we will keep the current tax schedules and fortnightly pension and benefit rates so that Australians will get tax cuts and pension increases without the impost of the carbon tax.
We will also cut company tax to 28.5 per cent, get rid of the mining tax and stop Labor’s $1.8 billion Fringe Benefits Tax hit on Australian car manufacturers, charities and thousands of working Australians.
Spending where it is needed
The Coalition will engage in measured and responsible spending initiatives to ease cost-of-living pressures, boost jobs growth, increase productivity and restore Australia’s sovereignty.
We will provide more money for health, more money for education, more money for agriculture, more money for disadvantaged regions, fairer indexation of veterans’ military superannuation, policies to increase workforce participation, and more secure borders.
The Coalition’s prudent economic plans will leave the Budget better off and generate stronger economic growth in the near term.
We have been careful and methodical in our assessment of our savings – and responsible and prudent in our spending promises.
Unlike Labor, whose budget position has been deteriorating by $3 billion a week since the May Budget, the Coalition will live within its means.
When Australians head to the polls on Saturday there need not be any doubt in their minds about how we will pay for our policies and improve the budget position.
The Coalition is the only party that can be trusted to be responsible with your money – we have done it before and we will do it again if we are elected this coming Saturday.