Friday, March 02, 2007

Only in the topsy-turvy city of Canberra... would the Coalition think it could win votes by painting Labor as a small-spender

Today Labor announced planned cuts in government expenditure on attaining office worth $3 billion (details over the fold).

Here's how the ACT's Liberal senator Gary Humphries responded:


Rudd Labor has given its clearest signal that a blood bath is in store for Canberra public servants should it win the next election.

Today in The Australian, Labor’s Finance spokesman Lindsay Tanner again expressed disgust at the growth of public service jobs under the Coalition Government.

But he now appears to be flagging the number of jobs he wants cut – 20,000.

“The message is clear for Canberra public servants: Your jobs are on the line at the next Federal election,” ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries said today.

“With over a third of Commonwealth public servants working in Canberra, this would probably mean a cut of 7,000 jobs in this city.

“Kevin Rudd is travelling around Australia promising extra funding and services, yet he wants Canberra public servants to do more with less.

“As was the case with Mark Latham, Rudd Labor wants to rip funding out of Canberra to pay for its election promises to other parts of the country.

“Strong investment by the Commonwealth has off-set the ACT Government’s economic incompetence. But if Labor obtains power Federally, it’s double-trouble for Canberra,” Senator Humphries said.

Here's Labor's announcement:




Federal Labor today announced a massive savings plan to cut out $3 billion of Howard Government waste.

These $3 billion in savings across the 4 years of the federal budget will put downward pressure on inflation and interest rates.

Labor’s savings plan includes:

    · Saving $394 million by scrapping the Howard Government’s extreme work laws;

    · Cutting $350 million worth of Howard Government political advertising; and

    · A $395 million cut in the use of consultants in the Commonwealth public service.

(A full list of savings is attached below)

A Rudd Labor Government will use its $3 billion savings plan to cut wasteful spending and increase investment in productivity drivers like education, skills and infrastructure.

Complacency and lack of discipline by the Howard Government has allowed unnecessary spending to flourish. Splurges of taxpayers dollars on political advertising and high cost consultants are proof of that fact.

If introduced today, Labor’s savings would save $3 billion over the Budget estimates period. Labor will continue to pursue savings options, and make further savings announcements prior to the election.

This sensible and disciplined savings plan will put downward pressure on inflation and interest rates. Labor’s savings include and build on the $1 billion of savings announced in November 2006

2 March 2007


Figures in $million 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total
Limit FTB (B) to those who earn under $250,000 7.5 7.5 7.5 22.5
Withdraw Australia's contribution to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 88.0 88.0
Remove tax deductibility for political donations 9.5 11.6 21.1
Remove surplus funding due to WorkChoices 53.5 138.2 141.7 61.4 394.8
Fold Invest Australia functions into Austrade 23.5 23.5 23.5 70.5
Reverse 2006 Budget measure for on-line electronic authentication 4.0 12.6 9.1 25.7
Abandon Medibank Private sale and associated sale costs 12.0 12.0
Reverse increase in MP's printing allowance 2.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 17.0
Require industry to fund the Financial Literacy Foundation 5.3 5.4 10.7
Streamline government advertising and eliminate political propaganda 50.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 350.0
Abolish Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership 2.0 4.3 6.3
Use centralised telephone services and websites to advise on aged care availability and save uncommitted Carelink funds 13.7 13.7
Require industry not taxpayers to fund the Do Not Call Register 4.0 10.1 7.6 6.2 27.9
Partially reverse 2006-07 Budget decision giving extra running costs to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 4.5 8.5 8.9 9.4 31.3
Reverse 2006-07 budget decisions to increase Australian Securities and Investment Commission funding 19.3 36.7 36.8 37.0 129.8
Defer Access Card for further examination 145.0 157.0 302.0
Abolish Carrick Institute awards and reduce Institute funding 5.4 10.7 10.7 10.7 37.5
Absorb the cost of the Future Fund advisory unit 0.4 0.7 0.7 0.7 2.5
Reduce spending on non-Defence related recruitment agencies 7.0 15.8 15.8 15.8 54.4
Reduce spending on consultants 56.5 112.9 112.9 112.9 395.2
Reduce spending on political opinion polls/market research 7.5 15.0 15.0 15.0 52.5
Reverse December 2006 decision to create Digital Australia and increase ACMA funding 2.9 7.0 5.9 6.2 22.0
Remove funding to employers to promote WorkChoices under the Employer Advisor Program 12.5 12.5
Remove December 2006 funding increase for the PM's Nuclear Energy Taskforce 3.9 3.9
Improve purchasing and administration arrangements of Commonwealth air travel 6.0 15.0 15.0 15.0 52.5
Reduce funding for the National Capital Authority 1.0 3.5 3.5 3.5 11.5
Reduce duplication in tax administration by abolishing the Inspector-General of Taxation 2.2 2.2 2.2 6.6
Extend Centrelink compliance campaign - 'Keeping the system fair' 51.8 53.4 55.0 160.2
Redirect 2006-07 budget measure to increase Australian Taxation Office funding to compliance activity to produce larger compliance dividend 7.0 62.1 175.7 235.7 480.5
Re-introduce the voluntary Student Supplement Scheme saving money in youth allowance and AUSTUDY 34.7 31.3 28.1 94.1
Reverse December 2006 decision for National Training Centre for Aerial Skiing 2.5 2.5
Close Nauru and Manus Island detention centres 10.0 27.0 27.0 27.0 91.0
Total # 275.4 943.1 994.8 789.4 3001.2

# Labor's November savings announcement included $125 million arising from the proposed withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq. Following questioning in estimates, no clarity was given of the Government’s actual funding in the forward estimates. Although the Government has no exit strategy from Iraq, it has not provided forward estimates of the cost of troop deployment beyond 30 June 2007. Labor will withdraw Australian combat troops from Iraq, but it is difficult to estimate the savings from the withdrawal of troops because of the lack of transparency relating to these costs in the forward estimates, as well as the fact that the precise timing of the withdrawal will be subject to the stage that the combat troop rotation has reached and negotiations with the United States and Iraqi Governments on a staged withdrawal. Therefore the savings from the withdrawal of combat troops cannot be included in this savings package.