South Australia Shadow Treasurer Iain Evans
Foley Changes Story On New Savings Target
Victor P Taffa
What a difference a day makes.
On Wednesday 20 July the Opposition asked Treasurer Foley:
“On April 6th this year, did Cabinet agree to additional budget savings measures of $1.3 Billion over the forward estimates?”
“This question was based on leaked documents that indicated the additional $1.3 Billion savings target was in addition to $375 Million announced in 2008/09 and $750 Million announced in 2009/10. A total of over $2 Billion.” Shadow Treasurer Iain Evans said.
The Treasurer responded by saying: “Making it $2 Billion – No.”
He also responded to other questions on the same topic saying: “We are not looking at a $2 Billion figure – that is a made up number.”
The next day, Thursday 22 July the Treasurer changed his position by saying: “The inference yesterday of some $2 Billion worth I assume, of recurrent expenditure cuts on a yearly basis is a nonsense figure.”
He has changed his denial to be about $2 Billion in expenditure cuts (savings measures) per year – the Opposition never suggested that!
The Opposition’s question was, is the savings task now over the forward estimates period- four years- now in excess of $2 billion.
On the issue regarding if the Cabinet agreed to the extra $1.3 Billion savings target on April 6, the Treasurer’s comments seem to indicate that Cabinet did agree to the target.
The Treasurer said: “The April Cabinet meeting did set a number of targets in terms of what the situation was at April 6.” and the Treasurer continued: “The parameters that were mentioned in that budget submission of 6 April will vary and have varied.” and then the Treasurer said: “The $l.3 Billion figure the Leader mentions in aggregate terms over the forward estimates is a figure that does not necessarily have relevance now as we formulate the budget.”
“So treasurer, was this a made up number or a made up answer?” Mr. Evans asked.