Par­ties spend­ing up big

Western Suburbs Weekly - - State Election ‘17 - By GREIG JOHN­STON .com.au

AS the State Elec­tion draws near, ex­perts have urged the ma­jor par­ties to out­line how they will save money, rather than spend it.

The 2017 cam­paign has al­ready seen a host of ex­pen­sive prom­ises from both ma­jor par­ties.

But with grim fore­casts from Trea­sury, ex­perts want to see spend­ing reined in.

WA’S debt is tipped to hit $41.1 bil­lion in 2020, with a deficit of $535 mil­lion.

Yet Colin Bar­nett and Mark Mcgowan are throw­ing prom­ises of money around in a bid to shore up seats.

Since the start of the year, the Lib­er­als have made $2.39 bil­lion worth of elec­tion prom­ises. Among them are a $560 mil­lion pledge to up­grade WA high schools and $520 mil­lion on a Thorn­lie-cock­burn rail link.

Shadow Trea­surer Ben Wy­att de­clared the Gov­ern­ment’s spend­ing reck­less, but his own party has hardly been re­strained.

Since Jan­uary 1, La­bor has made $1.26 bil­lion worth of prom­ises over and above its Metronet pledge, val­ued at $2.53 bil­lion on its own.

For­mer trea­surer Eric Rip­per said who­ever won gov­ern­ment would have a tough time bal­anc­ing the books.

“(Aim) to keep new ex­pen­di­ture down; the first way to con­trol spend­ing is not to agree to any more,” Mr Rip­per said.

“Run a very tight ship, try to get some de­cent op­er­at­ing sur­pluses and use them to con­tain the debt.

“My pre­dic­tion is taxes will go up, who­ever wins.”

Dr Martin Drum, a se­nior lec­turer in pol­i­tics at Notre Dame Univer­sity, agreed spend­ing needed to be cur­tailed.

“I think it would greatly as­sist the cred­i­bil­ity of the ma­jor par­ties to clearly and con­cisely out­line a range of mea­sures that they would implement to get sav­ings in the cur­rent op­er­a­tional bud­get,” Dr Drum said.

“I think that would go a long way to as­suag­ing fears around spend­ing com­mit­ments. We still need to see more in­di­ca­tion from both sides of pol­i­tics as to what sav­ings they might implement in or­der to pay for their prom­ises.”

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