LIA FINOCCHIARO MLA
LEADER of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition
Days roll by with no Gunner Government financial transparency
It’s been 44 days since the Gunner Government passed emergency financial supply measures totalling $3.4 billion through the Parliament. However, the Chief Minister has still not committed to budget transparency for the pre-COVID period (July 2019 – March 2020), let alone its financial position and predictions from March 2020, Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro said today.
“All we have seen from the Gunner Government is smoke, spin and excuses about why it can’t deliver a mini-budget,” Mrs Finocchiaro said.
“The Country Liberal Party Opposition is calling on the Government to provide a mini-budget. They can do it. They have the information. The Federal Government is providing indicative data to states and territories about tax collections including GST. Queensland, which is in a similar situation, is going to release a mini-budget prior to its election.
“The Chief Minister has got to stop hiding behind coronavirus as an excuse for blatant avoidance of scrutiny. Adjust your modelling, adjust your presumptions and face the music.
“The Chief Minister and other Ministers did not present any financial information to Territorians during last week’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing, despite talking up that it would be an outlet for budget scrutiny.
“This is in distinct contrast to when I asked the Police Commissioner about the police budget in the hearing. They were able to advise that policing was about $1 million per month over budget. When I asked the CEO of the Heath Department about its budget, they was able to advise that it will have an overspend of $24 million.
“If these two agencies have a good idea of their budget position then how can the Chief Minister not have an overall idea?
“This lack of transparency is becoming a worrying theme in the Gunner Government’s communication with Territorians. Two weeks ago the Government refused to allow question time or the presentation of petitions in Parliament in a deliberate move to squash scrutiny despite Parliament finishing just after 3pm.
“In February this year the Treasurer refused to tell Territorians how much we are having to pay each day in interest payments on debt. Instead, she arrogantly refused to give a figure.
“Of course the $12 million Turf Club Grandstand has question marks all over it around how and why the Gunner Government made that decision and why the Chief Minister’s Chief of Staff wrote a letter of support.
“The Gunner Government is using coronavirus as a shield from providing information that is in its control and ought to be released to the public. The Chief Minister seems to think that because of the COVID-19 crisis, the Government is now above financial scrutiny and accountability to Territorians.
“Labor inherited a debt of $1.8 billion when it came to Government in 2016. Now it’s at $6.2 billion. More than 21,000 jobs are set go. We are in an economic mess and the Government won’t even open the books.
“It is clear that the Gunner Government has no budget and no plan,” Mrs Finocchiaro concluded.