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Treasurer Wants Tasmanians to Believe He's a Magician

14 Feb 2016

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson

The Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, is being dishonest with Tasmanians about the State's budget outlook.  Either that, or he genuinely believes he is a magician.

Unless Mr Gutwein and his Liberal colleagues stop gouging a 90% dividend out of profitable Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and find a way to cover the $2.1 Billion cuts to Health and Education delivered in the first Abbott Budget, they are likely to oversee one of the most temporary surpluses in living memory.

The $2.1 Billion taken out of Tasmania's health and education systems starts to take effect from mid 2017.  Unless reversed these cuts will have a savage impact on our hospitals and schools over the next decade, causing generational harm.

It is a complete abrogation of the Treasurer's responsibility for him to be talking up a small, temporary surplus in the face of such damaging cuts and the massive budget black hole they will make.

The Treasurer also oversaw huge dividend payments totalling $234.6 million from Hydro Tasmania in the first two years of the Liberal Government, impairing the GBE's capacity to deal with the Basslink crisis and invest in increased renewable generation.

Tasmanians should be aware that Mr Gutwein's projected surplus will come from a GST windfall of more than half a billion dollars, the sacking of 1200 public servants and a policy of gouging a 90% dividend from Government Business Enterprises.

And while they have been clawing in this treasure chest of public money, the Liberals have been taking doctors and nurses out of public hospitals and teachers out of schools.