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Hard hats no substitute for hard facts on Rudd Government stimulus spending.



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Mon, 24th August 2009

Hard hats no substitute for hard facts on Rudd Government stimulus spending

Scott Morrison MP Shadow Minister for Housing and Local Government

Shadow Minister for Housing and Local Government, Scott Morrison said today that as consensus grows among economists and business leaders for the Rudd Government to get their spending under control, Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek is refusing to release monthly reports on the status of her own $6.4 billion spending on public housing.

“The Rudd Government is happy to hold hard hat media conferences all over the country but the Minister for Housing is refusing to release monthly reports from her department on the progress of the $6.4 billion of borrowed money she is spending on public housing, as part of Labor’s poorly targeted stimulus programme,” Mr Morrison said.

“Hard hats at media conferences are no substitute for hard facts on how borrowed public money is being spent,” he said.

“Earlier this year it was revealed under Opposition questioning in Senate estimates that the Housing Minister is receiving monthly reports on the progress of the scheme. The Opposition has been seeking the release of these reports ever since.

“The Housing Minister has been sitting on reports and refusing to respond to Opposition questions to release the data so a proper assessment can be made about whether the project is keeping pace with its own stimulus timetable.

“The Government needs to start more than 30 homes every day to meet their own schedule - a 500% increase on what has typically been achieved by states and territories in the past. Early indications are that the Government is failing to meet this timetable.

“If the Government is failing to keep pace with their own timetable, then the public has a right to know. Given the Housing Minister’s failure to respond to questions on notice in the Parliament on these issues, I have written to the Minister today calling on her to commit to release her monthly reports immediately on how $6.4 billion of taxpayer’s borrowed money is being spent.

“With questions increasingly being raised about the wisdom of pressing ahead with the Rudd Government’s stimulus projects, the failure to keep to timetable would certainly justify winding these projects back - to avoid further pressure on interest rates and contain Labor’s spiraling debt.

“Two weeks ago the Governor of the Reserve Bank sounded a warning to the House Economics Committee that their current thinking on the stimulus was based on everything proceeding to schedule. If this no longer holds true, then the failure of the

Rudd Government to acknowledge this and reign in their spending could force the RBA to raise interest rates.

“The Minister cannot strut around Parliament and building sites peddling warm and fuzzy stories and then fail to subject her programme to genuine scrutiny and answer straightforward questions such as ‘how many houses have you built?’

“The Rudd Government is addicted to spending borrowed money and is refusing to acknowledge any information that would cause them to take a more responsible approach to managing the nation’s finances. So much for being economic conservatives.

“Mr Rudd has a political strategy for handling the global financial crisis, but no economic strategy. Labor is simply looking to maintain their excuse for spending billions of dollars of borrowed public money on marginal seats before the next election,” Mr Morrison said.