Monday, August 9, 2010

Cocky Coalition has costed just 1% of promises

BETWEEN them, Tony Abbott and Nationals leader Warren Truss announced three new measures at yesterday's Coalition policy launch. But none of them were costed, and one was not even fleshed out.

It's a measure of the Coalition's confidence that it no longer feels obliged to spell out what its policies will cost, or how they will be funded. Its campaign is going like a dream; everyone's focus is on Labor divisions. Why rock the boat?

With four days left before the deadline for submitting policies for costing, the Coalition's running tally of new spending measures and tax cuts is almost $40 billion.

Yet just six measures totalling $288 million less than 1 per cent of that have been sent for costing.

Its three initiatives yesterday had no costing at all. They included:

relaxing the work test for rural students to receive the youth allowance, which Labor costed at up to $270 million over four years.

a breathtaking yet unspecified proposal to offer guaranteed jobs to "young indigenous people and others trapped in intergenerational poverty" if they give up their rights to welfare payments.

the offer to reimburse householders for inspections and if necessary, removal of Pink Batts installed under Labor's home insulation program. Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said this could be funded within the existing program. Well, with respect, that depends how many people use it, and how many Pink Batts need to be removed.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan announced:

the cost of a passport will be increased by $18 from January 1, from $208 to $226, and be indexed annually thereafter for inflation (raising $193 million over the next four years)

the Tax Office will get more resources to pursue tax fraud, especially by businessmen setting up 'phoenix' companies letting one business die with unpaid debts, then starting up a new one.