STATE MEMBER FOR MALVERN
SHADOW TREASURER

Portfolio Speeches

Government: financial management

Mr WAKELING (Ferntree Gully) -- My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer advise the house of the market reaction to and endorsement of the strong fiscal management shown in the budget?

Mr O'BRIEN (Treasurer) -- I thank the member for Ferntree Gully for his question. Yesterday the government brought down a budget which is about building for growth and doing so in a way which is financially sustainable. When we came to office we inherited a structural deficit in the budget. We had year on year of expenditure growth outstripping revenue growth. We were in a structural deficit, and we would have been in a nominal deficit had it not been for fiscal stimulus payments from Canberra to prop up the state Labor budget. We inherited a budget that was in a mess, and this government set about the hard work of restoring the state's finances.

 

I again pay tribute to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services for the outstanding work he did as Treasurer in going about the hard task of restoring our finances.

We are now seeing the dividends of the coalition's hard work, bringing down a budget with an operating surplus of $225 million next year, bringing down a budget with significant investment in infrastructure and bringing down a budget with net debt to fall from 6.4 per cent of gross state product (GSP) next year to 5.4 per cent of GSP over the forward estimates. I was asked about the reaction to this. Standard & Poor's announced that Victoria's AAA stable rating is unchanged. It has said:

  • In our opinion, despite further downward revisions of its revenues (from both its own sources and GST transfers from the commonwealth of Australia), the Victorian government's budgetary performance remains solid.

Standard & Poor's considers ...

Victoria's --

  • level of debt as being consistent with the 'AAA' rating assigned to the state.

Moody's has said:

  • Moody's believes that the government's ongoing resolve to exert strong controls over both current and capital expenditures will be critical to achieving the balanced budget target.

We have strong endorsements in terms of this government's fiscal strategy. But it is not just the ratings agencies. The Master Builders Association of Victoria has said:

  • The state now has a solid financial platform to make these investments to help secure our status as one of the world's most livable communities.

Tim Piper from the Australian Industry Group has said:

  • The 2013-14 Victorian budget gives a much-needed focus on boosting productivity through significant infrastructure investment ...

The Minerals Council of Australia said:

  • The MCA Victorian division congratulates the coalition government on the 2013-14 budget handed down today. The strong renewed focus on mineral development is warmly welcomed.

 

We have seen a string of groups in the community, be they ratings agencies or business groups, recognising that our strong financial management has given us the capacity to make significant infrastructure improvements for Victoria. Some people have welcomed the surplus, and we welcome people who welcome our surplus. In fact the Leader of the Opposition welcomed the surplus on the radio yesterday.

The difficulty is that some people have opposed every single measure to keep the budget in surplus. They have opposed every little bit of belt tightening, every bit of efficiency and every bit of removing the waste and the mismanagement and the getting rid of the dodgy major project management that we had under the former government -- every single piece of it was opposed.

Ms Allan -- On a point of order, Speaker, the Treasurer is very excited, but he is flagrantly offending against standing order 58.

 

He is not in any way being factual in answer to the question. Indeed there were 11 years of surpluses and a AAA-rated budget under the previous government. There is nothing -- --

The SPEAKER -- Order! I do not uphold the point of order.

Mr O'BRIEN -- Next Tuesday we will see the results of Labor financial management when the federal budget comes down. We will see whether that delivers a surplus or a deficit, but we know that Victoria and Victoria's finances are in safe hands under a coalition government.

Contact Michael
Michael O'Brien MP

313 Waverley Road
MALVERN EAST VIC 3145

Phone: (03) 9576 1850
Fax: (03) 9576 1849


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