ACT Labor Gets the Sums Wrong Again: $18m Black Hole

Election policy costing advice from Treasury underestimates public service staff costs by approximately $18 million, ACT Shadow Treasurer Brendan Smyth said today. Mr Smyth said the document, provided to the Canberra Liberals to base their policy costings on, is either grossly negligent or malicious.

“Andrew Barr’s own department is thousands of dollars out on their calculations of staff costs at different levels, and should they apply this to the ACT public service, the total underestimation is approximately $18 million,” Mr Smyth said.

“This is either the result of gross incompetence or Andrew Barr is using his department to try throw out the Opposition’s election costings.

“It’s worryingly similar to ACT Labor’s financial incompetence last election, with the party’s infamous ‘it’s a fact’ document which overestimated the Opposition’s policy costs by a billion dollars.

“Unlike Andrew Barr, we can actually add up, and have thoroughly checked all of the costs of our own policies.

“The question for Andrew Barr is – has he used these figures in the ACT Budget? If so, it has an $18 million black hole.

“How can we trust Andrew Barr to cost the Oppositions’ policies, when he either can’t calculate own staffing costs, or is deliberately providing misleading figures.

“Any scrap of financial credibility Andrew Barr had is now well and truly gone.

“The government has no response to our comprehensive plan for better basic services with lower rates and charges, so has clung to number crunching. Now, they’ve even blown that.

“ACT Labor is a lazy and complacent government that is well beyond its use-by date,” Mr Smyth concluded.