News Election 2019 Treasurer releases policy costings two days before election

Treasurer releases policy costings two days before election

chris bowen
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has questioned what the government is hiding by releasing its costings late in the election campaign. Photo: AAP
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Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has slammed the Liberal party for waiting until two days before the election to release its policy costings.

The figures were also released after the Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s final pitch to voters at the National Press Club on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Bowen questioned what the government was hiding by releasing its numbers so late in the campaign after the Labor party revealed its costings a week earlier.

“For a government of the day to release their costings so late in an election campaign, just shows that they do have things to hide,” Mr Bowen said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Thursday revealed policies announced during the election had totalled $1.4 billion over four years, building to $3.8 billion over 10 years.

However, they would be offset by new savings of $1.5 billion over the forward estimates, building to $5 billion over the medium term.

The coalition says it will more than offset the cost of its election promises by keeping the two per cent public service efficiency dividend in place for another two years.

The efficiency dividend – which involves departmental secretaries cutting costs and finding better value for money – would be kept at its rate of two per cent for a further two years, dropping to 1.5 per cent in 2021/22, before returning to the base rate of one per cent from 2022/23.

Exemptions would apply to the ABC, SBS and Safe Work Australia, as well as the Australian Signals Directorate and Office of National Intelligence.

As well, exemptions would be extended to the National Disability Insurance Agency, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Institutions such as the Australian War Memorial, National Archives of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia and National Museum of Australia would also escape the dividend.

“The net effect of all our policy commitments announced since the budget during the election campaign is a slight improvement to the budget surplus in each year of the current forward estimates period, without increasing taxes,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters on Thursday.

Cumulative surpluses are now expected to be $45.1 billion over the next four years.

Asked why the coalition waited until two days before the election to reveal its costings, rather than a week out as Labor had done, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said a budget had been delivered on April 2.

“This is a very small set of additional measures,” he said.