The Coalition today announced its policy costings. Here’s what you need to know:
- Budget bottom line improved by $6.382 billion
- $9 billion in further savings (on top of $31 billion already announced)
- A reduction in government debt by $16 billion
- Growth in foreign aid cut by $4.5 billion to pay for infrastructure
- “Re-prioritise” spend on foreign aid
- A further 0.25% efficiency dividend on public service saves $450 million
- $2.4 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund, paid for through the mining tax, will be scrapped
- Extra $5 billion over forward estimates for key infrastructure projects
- A rephase $650 million of Murray-Darling Basin water buy-back programs
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey today announced $9 billion in further savings, saying it makes a “lie” of the Prime Minister’s claims the budget would be slashed under a Coalition Government.
After five weeks of campaigning, voters now have only hours to digest the full figures before heading to the polls on Saturday.
“This makes a lie of Mr Rudd’s claim that we’re cutting everywhere,” Hockey said, adding that The Opposition would in fact increase spending in health and education.
Labor has recently speculated the Coalition was hiding up to $70 billion in budget cuts. Before today it had already announced $31 billion in savings over four years.
It was also revealed The Coalition would cut spending on foreign aid growth to fund infrastructure projects.
“We have to cut the growth in foreign aid to fund infrastructure, because the stronger the Australian economy — the more generous we can be in the future,” Hockey told reporters in Melbourne this afternoon.
Finance spokesman Andrew Robb also said Australia could not afford to be generous with aid if its own economic growth was not sustainable.
“We are currently borrowing from overseas to fund the foreign aid commitments Australia is making,” he said.
Robb said under a Coalition government, 80% of all nationally significant road projects would be funded by Canberra, with the remaining 20% paid for by the states.
Hockey also said it would streamline the public service. The Coalition would impose a further 0.25% “efficiency dividend” if elected at the weekend.
Meanwhile, this afternoon Prime Minister Kevin Rudd used an address to the National Press Club to warn voters of the budget cuts likely if his party lost the election.
Rudd used one of his last chances to address the nation before Saturday to warn that jobs and education would be at risk under an Abbott led government.
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