The Territory Labor Government has begun a root and branch examination of Government expenditure as part of the next stage in the plan for budget repair.
The root and branch review will assess agency programs against the Governments key priorities of:
Creating jobs and attracting investment
Creating generational change which will reduce demand for government services in the medium to long term
Increasing community safety and cohesion
Enhancing transparency and integrity of Government
Government Chief Executives will be required to appear before the Budget Review Sub Committee to show how agency programs align with these key priorities, present value for money for Territorians and deliver the services Territorians deserve effectively and efficiently.
Recommendations from the Budget Review Sub Committee will then proceed to cabinet as part of the regular Budget Cabinet Process.
Efficiencies identified will be announced as part of the Budget 2019 and will be focused on curbing expenditure growth to bring the budget into operational balance over the medium term.
This root and branch review follows the release of former WA Under-Treasurer John Langoulants interim report in December.
Work on the final report and consultation on it will take place concurrently with the root and branch review.
Mr Langoulants final report will be presented to Government in the coming months and will outline the long term structural measures required to bring the budget into operational balance.
As stated by the Chief Minister and Acting Treasurer:
Our number one priority is creating local jobs and a sustainable budget allows us to continue investing in jobs.
Our plans for generational change investing in kids, investing in remote housing, investing in health and education after CLP cuts, properly funding and resourcing police, and fixing the broken youth justice system to get people back on track are all investments which are needed to curb demand for Government services in the medium and long term.
The Territorys fiscal and economic challenges werent created overnight. The fact the CLP left an $876m budget deficit without a plan for jobs after INPEX construction, even after selling public assets and spending the proceeds, has made local job creation more challenging.
The confirmation of the Commonwealth Governments $500m GST cuts late last year means we must make tough decisions to ensure recurrent expenditure growth is curbed.
The root and branch review is not about slashing and burning jobs and programs or putting up power prices like the previous CLP Government did.
It is about ensuring expenditure is carefully focused on plans for job creation, community safety and generational change so that Territorians get value for money from their tax dollar.
The economic and fiscal challenges the Territory is now facing have been decades in the making, and they will require sustained implementation of targeted, long term plans to overcome.
We will need to make tough but smart decisions to bring the budget back to operational balance in the medium term.
I can guarantee Territorians we wont be putting the economy and jobs at risk by following the advice of those calling for savage cuts to the public service.