Cost blowouts and delays hallmarks of Labor’s Budget

Cost blowouts and delays hallmarks of Labor’s Budget

Posted on: 21 December 2022

Labor’s Mid-Year Budget Review highlights troubling trends under the Malinauskas Labor Government – with more cost blowouts and major projects delayed in order to balance the books.

The majority of an approximate $18 billion dollars’ worth of required funding for the North-South Corridor project and the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital has been pushed beyond the forward estimates, creating a false sense of security when it comes to Labor’s budget bottom line.

This cost shifting exercise will ultimately cost South Australians more in the long run, with the delays likely to lead to further cost blowouts.

Labor’s Mid-Year Budget Review also revealed the jobs growth forecast remains unchanged, still at a tiny 1 per cent in 2022-23 highlighting why South Australia has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

Shadow Treasurer Matt Cowdrey said it’s worrying such significant economic cracks are beginning to show just nine months into the Malinauskas Labor Government.

“South Australians shouldn’t be fooled by Labor’s smoke and mirrors – they claim they’re reining in spending, but they’re simply just cost shifting by delaying major projects,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“We have a buy later, pay later Premier and it’s South Australians who are going to pay the price. Peter Malinauskas made some lofty promises during the election, but he shouldn’t be bumping major infrastructure projects just because he’s struggling to pay for them.

“Labor’s Mid-Year Budget Review is hugely worrying for South Australian taxpayers, as we see net debt is still rising, the net debt to revenue ratio is still going up, and forecasted surpluses are lower over much of the forward estimates. This is despite pushing the majority of spending for the North-South Corridor and new Women’s and Children’s Hospital beyond the forward estimates.

“When South Australia has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, we can’t afford any delays to major projects and the Government’s own MYBR jobs growth forecast paints a bleak picture.

“Concerningly, we still have no certainty whether the Federal Labor Government will come to the party to cover half of Labor’s $5.5 billion cost blowout for the final piece of the North-South Corridor.

“There are going to be some difficult times ahead over the coming years and I fear Labor is simply setting South Australians up for long-term economic pain.”

Shadow Minister for Finance Heidi Girolamo said Labor has a clear inability to manage their budget and appears to be fearful of delivering infrastructure projects.

“Labor’s delays of major infrastructure spending to simply balance the books is irresponsible economic management in the long run,” Ms Girolamo said.

“While Peter Malinauskas and Stephen Mullighan are trying to keep up appearances, sooner or later you have to stop kicking the can down the road.

“The Malinauskas Labor Government cannot just rely on GST revenue to fill gaps with no vision for the future, displaying a lack of support for our business community and having no plan to provide support for cost of living measures for South Australians.

“Labor’s been quick to play the blame game when it comes to the Adelaide 500 cost blowout, but Peter Malinauskas knew exactly what was required to stage this event and all this shows is he doesn’t have a grasp on economic management.

“Labor says the Adelaide 500 cost $35 million and generated around $40 million dollars in economic activity. Interestingly, the former Liberal Government’s winter festival Illuminate Adelaide costs $4 million and this year sparked more than $44 million in economic activity.”