Liberals’ election promises priced at $1.1 billion over four years

Dominic Giannini 8 October 2020 20
Alistair Coe

Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe says the Liberals’ election promises will cost the budget $1.1 billion over four years. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

The Canberra Liberals have released costings for their election commitments, nine days out from the 17 October poll.

According to the Liberals, their promises will cost $1.1 billion over the next four years.

The Liberals have been under pressure to release their costings and explain how they would pay for their policies after leader Alistair Coe has repeatedly said the party would not borrow any more money than Labor, while also lowering taxes and providing better services.

Mr Coe has continually fallen back on his “grow the pie” theory, saying that making Canberra more affordable will entice people from satellite towns like Googong and Jerrabomberra to live in Canberra, therefore raising tax and rates revenue.

Mr Coe has not estimated the level of migration to the ACT needed to raise enough revenue to cover the costs.

However, Labor has estimated that more than 100,000 new ratepayers would need to move to the ACT this financial year to cover Liberal election promises without borrowing.

The “growing the pie” mantra is not a convincing argument, ANU Emeritus Professor of Political Science John Warhurst told Region Media.

“It is true that if there is a feeling in the community that they definitely want a change [of government] then it won’t matter if people still have doubts over where the money is coming from, but I still think it is an issue,” Professor Warhurst said.

“I do not think the argument about growing the ACT as a way of raising revenue cuts through – at least not people I am talking to. They feel that, at the very best, it is very long term, it is not something that will balance the books in four years.”

Mr Coe told ABC Radio that economists both inside and outside the Liberal Party have backed his claims, but refused to reveal any more detail on the modelling.

When asked if he was expecting Canberrans to just believe the Liberals’ anecdotal evidence in lieu of any modelling, Mr Coe pointed to comments from Dr Khalid Ahmed from the University of Canberra and former Labor Chief Minister Jon Stanhope.

He also pointed to what he had heard doorknocking, saying Canberrans were telling him they were feeling the pinch.


READ MORE: Three decades’ population growth needed in a year to fund Libs’ election promises: Labor


Chief Minister Andrew Barr criticised the Liberals’ economic theory, saying the contradictory pledges to cut the ACT’s revenue stream by freezing rates and not cutting money from services without borrowing another cent did not stack up.

“The Leader of the Opposition must release the advice that he is basing his ‘magic pudding’ theory of economics on, after confirming this morning that he has a team of economists supporting his theory,” Mr Barr said.

“As an alternative Chief Minister, he has to show the ACT community how he plans on supporting the growth of the ACT’s economy during this global economic crisis.

“Where are these people going to live? What schools are these families going to use? Where are the Canberra Liberals plans for the additional public healthcare, the public transport and the jobs that would be needed to support this huge increase in population.”


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20 Responses to Liberals’ election promises priced at $1.1 billion over four years
David Perkins David Perkins 7:40 pm 10 Oct 20

Canberra Libs are all hopeless claiming to carry a public debt on population growth at a time of stagnation. Ratbags and right-wing drongos led by the sinister political knifeman Zed Seselja. RIP Gary Humphries. RIP Malcolm Turnbull.

Jack Hearps Jack Hearps 9:03 pm 09 Oct 20

PROMISES ... PROMISES ... MISSES .. MISSED.

thebscaller thebscaller 3:18 pm 09 Oct 20

Oh there is a better way then lol
So what assets and other taxes will increase to cover such spending over 4 years?
Mark Parton thinks he has all the answers and gimmicks with silly videos etc while mr coe looks like a fool not saying anything of note.
This opposition is hopeless and no doubt mr Parton (who thinks his so popular) will go for the leadership position when this mob loose the coming election. I am no fan of either party but the liberals just talk a lot of bs and wouldn’t do anything promise wise if they got into government anyways.
Blind leading the blind in Canberra and there is a better way, not have self government full stop.

Ben Catania Ben Catania 2:39 pm 09 Oct 20

Regardless of what the costings are, the other mob promise nothing and just keep hiking up rates, increasing ticket inspectors and speed camera, household levies, regos, literally anyway to steal money fro your wallet. Canberra needs a change!

    Jack Hearps Jack Hearps 9:06 pm 09 Oct 20

    Ben Catania ahhh ... right ... some issues sure BUT ... REALLY? ... NOPE TO THE DOPE. Imagine the LP in charge of anything ... pandemic response announcements were appalling AND the fires and smoke ... where were they ... Hawaii with Scotty? ...

William Warner William Warner 12:11 pm 09 Oct 20

Asked a few times how are they going to cover it . No response.

    Jack Hearps Jack Hearps 9:04 pm 09 Oct 20

    William Warner ... pause ... reduced rates mate ... that's how 🙃😉😉😂🤣

russianafroman russianafroman 10:46 pm 08 Oct 20

Seems like lunacy what Coe is proposing. He should not be appearing so radical to the voters. 1 billion in spending over 4 years isn’t what people want. People just want to live peacefully in a nice city. Reducing rates is fine but make sure you’re not sacrificing our well built roads, healthcare and school network.

JS9 JS9 10:30 pm 08 Oct 20

“Mr Coe told ABC Radio that economists both inside and outside the Liberal Party have backed his claims, but refused to reveal any more detail on the modelling.”

It must be some dodgy economists in question. If there is one thing economists like to do, it is put some ludicrous assumptions and forecasts out there. I would of thought they’d be all over this opporunities….

Unless its all a case of the Emperor and his new clothes.

Alix O'Hara Alix O'Hara 10:13 pm 08 Oct 20

It's taxes and axed services, isn't it?

My understanding of the Liberals mandate is, broadly speaking, to sell assets, to pay for rate freezes, to incentivise their re-election... at everyone's long term expense.

They're behind the tram too: that's $2 billion to interstate contractors in a pandemic and recession, but note that they won't respond directly to those questions either.

Australian Climate Change Justice Party has an alternative use of funds, in applying solar panels and a vanadium battery unit for every rooftop in canberra: residential, government and community buildings.

A community owned asset that both earns and saves money.

Check out the policy detail here: www.climatechangejustice.com.au/electrifycanberra

chewy14 chewy14 9:43 pm 08 Oct 20

Yep, all 3 major parties are promising to splash the cash around through significant new borrowings.

Which might make sense if the majority of it was going towards things that would promote future economic growth or open up new opportunities for Canberrans.

Unfortunately we have whole piles of pure dross.

Sol Sol 9:04 pm 08 Oct 20

Coe has never held any real job outside politics and it shows. Just no idea.

Shannon Cook Shannon Cook 8:31 pm 08 Oct 20

Coe has no way to pay!! And he keeps blocking anyone who questions this.. he won't answer, he just blocks.

    Brenton Higgins Brenton Higgins 8:41 pm 08 Oct 20

    I keep asking them. They’ve blocked me from Coe’s page, Lee’s page, Burch’s page, Paton’s page...

    Brenton Higgins Brenton Higgins 8:41 pm 08 Oct 20

    Still no answer....

Brenton Higgins Brenton Higgins 8:21 pm 08 Oct 20

Let’s put this into context. The ACT budget is just under $6 billion a year. They want to spend an additional 1.1 billion.

That 👏 is 👏 insane 👏

They have absolutely no way to pay for this.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:24 pm 08 Oct 20

“….it is not something that will balance the books in four years.”

Anyone who thinks that the ACT Government’s books will be “balanced” in four years under the policies of any of the parties contesting this election needs to remember the pithy wisdom of Daryl Kerrigan.

Andrew Duncan Andrew Duncan 6:19 pm 08 Oct 20

What’s Labor’s costings! Got those?

    Peter Richardson Peter Richardson 6:29 pm 08 Oct 20

    Andrew Duncan they have openly stated their policies are based on borrowings. Like the national Liberal party.

    Deborah Gale Deborah Gale 11:14 am 09 Oct 20

    And increasing rates and taxes?

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