In the Courier-Mail, Stephen Wardill responds to my observation that LNP’s campaign promises don’t add up, and must imply large unnannounced cuts to services, by suggesting that they may instead imply large unnannounced cuts in infrastructure, specifically the Cross-River rail tunnel project. There is a simple way to resolve this: the LNP could say where they plan to cut, and by how much. This idea doesn’t seem to have occurred to Wardill however.
It’s also easy to check that cutting the Cross-River project will go nowhere near filling the gap in the LNP’s promises. The commitment in the last budget was $2 billion, and the total (assuming no Commonwealth funding) is about $5.4 billion over 7 years, with a target completion date of 2024. Scrapping the current budget allocation of $2 billion would barely be enough to pay for the reintroduced Royalties for Regions program, let alone the many other ideas that have been floated. And none of that goes anywhere near achieving the promise of a surplus on fiscal balance.
So, as Robert Menzies famously asked, “Where’s the money coming from?”
Wardill does make one fair point: the practice of providing costings at the last possible moment is not new and was done by Labor last time around. As with compulsory preferential voting, this is a piece of cleverness that has come back to bite them. Indeed, looking at this article on Labor’s costings release, the symmetry is amusing, and goes both ways.
From the LNP
At the last gasp, at almost the very last day of an election campaign they produce a three-page document that doesn’t add up,” Mr Nicholls said
And from Labor, a promise to this article on Labor’s costings release”>cut government advertising expenditure, just as Nicholls is doing today. As I said in my previous post
As for government advertising, not only are the sums involved relatively modest, but this is a promise routinely made and broken by Opposition parties in just about every election. Nicholls may not like government advertising when Labor does it, but, in office, he was happy to spend $70 million on the Strong Choices asset sales campaign.