In the 2015-16 Queensland Budget, the Government has shown it subscribes to the maxim that one might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb. The Government is undertaking at least three measures of dubious merit, including the superannuation contributions holiday, tapping into money set aside for long service leave, and transferring $4 billion of debt to government-owned corporations (GOCs) from the general government sector. Further, the Government has flagged it is investigating the dubious option of investing funds set aside to meet the defined benefit super liability in GOCs, which I discussed on Steve Austin’s 612 ABC Brisbane radio program on Budget day.
As I’ve commented on Steve Austin’s program and on Ben Davis’s 4BC Drive program in recent days, the Government has failed to engage in the true budget repair that is required to get us out of the debt trap and restore our AAA credit rating. Instead, the Government continues to spend money on non-urgent, avoidable items (e.g. a netball centre and football stadium, as well as 3,000 extra public servants) and has resorted to shifting money around on its books to create the illusion of paying down debt, well at least general government sector debt which has been manipulated via dubious accounting measures. That is, the Government is resorting to sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors, or rearranging the deck chairs on the you-know-what. The failure of this Budget to address the State’s fiscal challenges is demonstrated by the total Government debt in 2018-19 projected to come in at close to $80 billion, at $78.8 billion. Regrettably, this Budget fails to address Queensland’s long-term fiscal challenges.
My 612 ABC Brisbane interview on Budget day is available from here: