CityNews is aghast at the costs to the ACT Government of the Labor/Green parliamentary agreement.
- “The Stanhope Government must tell us how these promises will be paid for,” shadow treasurer Brendan Smyth told “CityNews.
“The people of the ACT were not made aware of what these promises to the Greens would cost. Now Mr Stanhope is ducking and weaving on the agreement. The Greens housing policy alone is close to a billion dollars – and the list goes on.”
“CityNews” believes this is the first time the public has seen the internal costings that informed Chief Minister (and then-Treasurer) Jon Stanhope’s decision to sign the pact with the balance-of-power Greens.
The hurried Treasury papers (one filed October 31, the day the agreement was signed; the other three days before) say that accepting the Greens mental health policy alone “would equate to the loss of 320 nurses or approximately 4000 low-cost elective surgery procedures”.
Brendan Smyth is working himself into a right old tizzy about it:
- “The revelations that Treasury was instructed to cost the Greens-Labor agreement means either the Chief Minister signed an agreement he knew would spiral the ACT economy into billions of dollars of debt, or he never had any intention of meeting his commitment to the Greens.
“The question now for Jon Stanhope is what elements of the agreement are aspirational? Will he scrap mental health funding, 30 minute buses or water saving initiatives?
“What is concerning is that many of the items in the agreement couldn’t be costed by Treasury. This total impact of this agreement is still un-costed.
“The Chief Minister signed this agreement knowing the cost would exceed well over a billion dollars. Mr Stanhope now must enlighten ACT taxpayers why he has signed over potentially a third of the annual budget to remain Chief Minister,” Mr Smyth said.