Budget Update: Report 2014-15
Written on the 26 February 2015
25 February 2015
Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)
I am pleased to rise this evening to speak to the 2014/15 Victorian Budget Update, which incorporates the quarterly financial report 1 and has been presented by the Treasurer, the Honourable Tim Pallas.
I do so because it is an important document that has comments that I would like to address, and I would like to raise some concerns about some of the issues the report raises. I note in chapter 1, under the heading 'Economic and fiscal overview,' the report focuses on a number of areas about the economy and says:
The government is acting immediately to implement its election commitments to rebuild a strong economy, improve economic growth and create jobs.
The report goes on to say:
Urgent action is required to address these challenges.
The government is doing this by focusing on creating the right environment and using initiatives such as its Back to Work Bill 2014.
We have heard about the Back to Work Bill.
It is a shell of a bill and that has been clearly pointed out by a number of coalition members who have highlighted their concerns.
I note that other members have also had their concerns about that particular piece of legislation, and we are continuing to debate it. Nevertheless, it goes to the heart of what we are talking about here.
When the coalition was elected to government in 2010, it was clear that the Victorian budget was at risk, the Victorian economy was at risk and expenditure was outstripping the income that was coming into the state.
Quite clearly the budget position was unsustainable if that was to continue.
The coalition government, of which I was very proud to be a member at a time when both Treasurer Wells, and later Treasurer O'Brien, really set this state up.
They achieved a AAA credit rating, and put into place a number of initiatives to ensure that good economic management could occur.
We now see government putting all of that at risk.
The report goes on to say that the government wants to maintain:
A strong budget position and net debt at a level consistent with the triple-A credit rating;
Getting Victorians back to work with policies that support jobs growth and
as I have said
Additional economic activity.
We are hearing day in and day out about the ripping up of the contracts for the eastwest link.
Nothing could do more to sap confidence in business investment than ripping up such significant contracts.
This is what economists and investors, both here in Australia and internationally, will be looking at very closely.
It is my understanding that a number of international businesses are absolutely aghast with what is occurring under this government, and I think Victorians are aghast that we have a Premier who said one thing prior to the election and is doing something else post-election.
Our budgetary position is extremely important.
We need to have a strong budget position to deliver on the services that Victorians need, particularly in the area for which I had responsibility.
Some of the most vulnerable members of our community require a range of services, and if we do not have the ability to deliver those services, those people are going to suffer.
That is why I have great concerns about where this government is going.
I note that the coalition government undertook a number of initiatives to ensure that there was ongoing economic activity and prosperity, including the delegations and free-trade initiatives that the coalition set up with the likes of China, which will reap great benefits for our state.
That will flow through and hopefully sooner rather than later.
That will be good for all Victorians.
But we need the infrastructure and we need other initiatives as well.
We need a range of services that can support, as I said, our most vulnerable members of the Victorian community.
That is what good government is about. It is about sustaining a good fiscal position, about being true to your word, and about governing for all Victorians not just a select group.
This report has a number of other areas that I would like to address in future contributions because it is important that we highlight our concerns about this report to the Victorian community.
I note that since the government has been in office just 87 days over 6000 jobs have been lost in the state.
We need to continue to watch that situation, and I will have further to say on this report at another time.