My oh my, the apparatchiks of the NSW Labor Party are getting responsible these days! Premier Kristina Kenneally, we are told by the Sunday Telegraph, has a war chest of $1.4 billion available to fund election promises.
“The Sunday Telegraph can reveal,” the story says, “the Government has squirrelled away the cash from the budget that it can use during the upcoming March election campaign without pushing the State into the red. Treasury secretary Michael Schur, the most senior finance bureaucrat in NSW, uncovered the bonus cash in the official Statement of Uncommitted Funds. The money – which had been allocated for a range of programs over the next four years – includes $225 million in funding for NSW Health, $114 million for the police force and $291 million for education. Incredibly, the election slush fund also includes $30.9 million allocated over the next two years to help reduce the soaring cost of power.”
What I want to know is they NSW Labor is the slightest bit worried about being fiscally responsible. It could promise to spend $10 billion and it would not make the slightest bit of difference to the result. There will not be a Labor Government after the March election to spend anything.
For those interested in an historical perspective of how this promises business used to be handled, I recommend you delve back into the Crikey archives and read this piece from June 2006. I still wince in pain at the memory of the 1988 election campaign it refers to.