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A predictable response from a desperate Government

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The Coalition totally rejects the Government's attack on costings of Fightback! - Fairness and Jobs The Government's response was obviously prepared in the Treasurer's office and even uses old numbers which have been discredited already.

The Government is sounding more and more like a desperate opposition.

This is a pathetic effort from the Treasurer. It is not a serious analysis completed by Treasury and the Department of Finance. It is a political hatchet job produced in Mr Dawkins' office and released close to newspaper deadlines specifically to get 'a bit of run' in the newspapers. In short it is a media gimmick.

This shonky political attack reveals:

1. The Treasurer is simply repeating numbers used by the Government on Fightback! shown to be wrong at that time. For example, the Treasurer is still persisting with the ridiculous claim that the GST will not bring in revenue from the black economy.

2. It is absurd for the Government to claim that the Coalition will not have available to it the proceeds of the recent changes to the FBT and measures to improve compliance. These measures were generally supported by the Coalition and that revenue will be available to the incoming Hewson government.

3. Mr Dawkins is wrong when he says on page 2 that ■ Fightback! II is critically dependent on the funding provided by the privatisation of AOTC.· Chapter 5, page 68 of Fightback! - Fairness and Jobs makes it crystal clear that the ongoing changes are all fully funded before taking into account receipts from privatisation. Moreover, the proceeds of privatisation originally

scheduled in Fightback! are more than adequate to cover one-off payments, even without the bringing forward of the sale of AOTC.

4. Mr Dawkins has failed to appreciate that as the one-off measures are funded by one-off sales the other measures - being recurrent - are fully funded on an ongoing basis. He is wrong to claim that there is a hole in year 4 and beyond.

5. The claims made today by Mr Dawkins about superannuation are not new and have been dealt with already by the Opposition.

The simple fact is that there is no funding hole in Fightback! and we have shown that about $18.5 billion of the proceeds of privatisation will be available for the repayment of commonwealth debt.

As with Fightback! launched in November 1991 the Coalition has been very conservative about its financial costings. Unlike the Government, which inflated 'One Nation' forecasts to give totally unrealistic numbers, the Coalition has not added in any benefits from economic growth. Furthermore, the Coalition has not added in any benefits from the incentive effects of the package, even though

as noted in Table 5.4 of Fightback! - Fairness and Jobs the incentive effects are conservatively estimated to boost net revenues on an ongoing basis by $3.65 billion per annum.

22 December 1992 Hastings Contact: David Turnbull (06) 277 4277