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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3793


Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (16:40): It is very interesting to hear from the opposition about budget transparency. Indeed, it is not their strong suit. At the last election the government had many policies out there, all costed and transparent, while the opposition turned up with no costings whatsoever. Then, at the last minute, they decided they would get a company to do it. They would not put it to Treasury for costing. They put it to a firm that, it turned out, was fined for professional misconduct. So we see that the coalition's commitment to transparency is not that great.

This government will always cost its policies. We will always be responsible economic managers. This has been shown many times in the way that we go about our business. We have shown, even during the financial crisis, that we act in a fiscally responsible way. As we recover from the global financial crisis, once again it has taken this government to budget the largest fiscal consolidation ever in this country's history. It has taken this government to act to support business.

In contrast we see that those on the other side have not learnt from their mistakes of the last election, but continue to rack up potential debt with uncosted policies. We see a $70 billion black hole from which they keep promising things, whether it is a superannuation increase or their climate change policy, which will cost the average household if they end up imposing the $1,300 tax. They have not been clear about where this money is coming from.

When we look at delivering budget transparency for the business community and for the nation, we on this side of the House have been doing a very good job. This is in sharp contrast to the coalition, which have provided no transparency on where their $70 billion in cuts will come from to fill their black hole. The opposition clearly refused to put their costings to Treasury. I ask: what have they got to hide? Their policies depend upon who speaks for the opposition. Some have said they are done and dusted and have been put into the drawer ready to be pulled out at election time, but others say that no final policy exists. The shadow finance minister said that no policies are ready to go. It is hard to know which of these is true. It is certainly not transparent.

To conclude, on this side of the House the government has worked on providing certainty for business, on providing budget transparency and on acting in the interests of businesses. On the other side of the House there is disarray, uncertainty and no transparency when it comes to budgetary matters. I look forward to the opposition's budget reply when we come back here in May. I hope they can show some transparency about where their cuts will come from.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! The discussion is now concluded.