Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson
Treasurer Gutwein’s alleged and much lauded surplus is a sham, according to the balance measure preferred by the Auditor General and the Treasurer’s own agency.
When the Treasurer states Tasmania’s budget is ‘back on track, back in the black’, he is being misleading.
Both the Auditor General and the Budget document itself are clear that the true measure for determining whether the Budget is coloured black or red, is the Underlying Net Operating Balance. This measure excludes the distorting effect of one-off Commonwealth payments for specific projects like the Royal redevelopment.
By this more commonly accepted and accurate accounting measure, the State Budget projects a $94.2 million deficit for next year, not a surplus.
One of the most transparent aspects of the Treasurer’s third budget rhetoric is its desperation to paint a rosier picture than the current financial reality.
Calling a deficit a surplus is like trying to argue that red is black.
The Treasurer should get out of the spin cycle that is clearly making him dizzy, and trying being straight up with Tasmanians about the State’s finances.
The Greens Alternative Budget has a similar underlying net operating deficit for the next three years. The only difference is that we are happy to be honest about that and then in the fourth year, our budget would return to a surplus whist the Liberals remains in deficit.