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2013-14 Budget Update confirms Victoria’s strong finances are building for growth

Friday, 13 December 2013
The Victorian Coalition Government is continuing to take the responsible steps needed to manage Victoria’s finances and deliver record investment in infrastructure and services.
 
“Victoria has the strongest state finances in Australia. We are spending a record $5.8 billion in 2013-14 on infrastructure rising to $7.2 billion in 2014-15 and are the only state to hold a AAA credit rating with a stable outlook from both major ratings agencies,” Mr O’Brien said. 
 
“In these challenging economic times the Coalition Government must maintain a disciplined budget to ensure we can continue to invest in the critical infrastructure and services that Victorian families and businesses deserve.”
 
The 2013-14 Budget Update confirms that the Coalition Government’s responsible economic management is continuing to build for growth right across Victoria.
 
“Today’s Budget Update shows Victoria is forecast to record a $221.8 million surplus in 2013-14, increasing to a $2.7 billion surplus in 2016-17,” Mr O’Brien said.
 
“This enables continued investment right across Victoria in schools, hospitals, public transport and roads to benefit all Victorians. 
 
“Victoria remains the only government in Australia – federal, state or territory – delivering a budget surplus each and every year across the forward estimates,” Mr O’Brien said. 
 
The 2013-14 Budget Update also confirms that the Coalition Government is responsibly managing Victoria’s debt, with net debt peaking at $24.8 billion and declining both nominally and as a percentage of GSP from June 2015.
 
“The Coalition Government inherited a structural deficit when it came to office in 2010. Our debt profile peaked as a result of cost blow-outs on Labor projects including myki and the desalination plant,” Mr O’Brien said.
 
“Since coming to office we have cut our cloth to fit and returned Victoria’s finances to a more sustainable footing.
 
“The Budget Update demonstrates that the Coalition Government will take the necessary action to keep Victoria’s finances in the black, with a commitment to reducing debt over time.” 
 
In the face of constrained national and global economic conditions the 2013-14 Budget Update forecasts:
  • economic growth of 2.0 per cent in 2013-14, rising to 2.75 per cent in 2014-15;
  • employment growth of 1 per cent in 2013-14, following growth of 0.9 per cent in 2012-13; 
  • the unemployment rate to reach 6 per cent before falling again in 2014-15, in line with national economic forecasts; and 
  • strong Victorian population growth of 1.7 per cent driven by a high birth rate and high net migration to Victoria.
 
New revenue and efficiency measures
 
Through the 2013-14 Budget Update the Coalition Government will implement targeted revenue and efficiency measures to support a continued record investment in infrastructure and services, including:
  • expansion of inner Melbourne’s congestion levy boundary at a concessional rate (from 1 January 2015);
  • adjustment of public transport fares in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from January 2014 and increases by CPI plus 2.5 per cent from 1 January 2015 until 2018;
  • changes to electronic gaming machine taxes and the minimum return to player ratio for hotels and clubs (from April 2014); and
  • adjustment to the value of a fee unit, by approximately 12 cents, to match actual past CPI increases (from 2014-15).
 
New and ongoing efficiency measures will reduce annual expenditure growth to 2.3 per cent over the forward estimates. 
 
This compares to unsustainable expenditure growth of 8 per cent over the decade to 2009-10 under Labor.
 
The introduction of a casino electronic gaming machine levy and the associated estimates in the 2013-14 Budget Update are subject to the satisfactory conclusion of negotiations and mutual agreement between the Victorian Government and Crown to establish an outcome that delivers real value for both parties.
 
Those discussions are continuing. The 2014-15 Budget will reflect the final outcome of these negotiations.
 
Mr O’Brien contrasted the Coalition’s economic management to that of Daniel Andrews’ Labor Party, warning Labor’s poor economic management would hurt Victorian families.
 
"Labor's unfunded transport promises would trash Victoria's finances and destroy our AAA rating, putting massive pressure on Victorian families. Daniel Andrews' 'desal-nomics' approach to financial management would undo the great work of Victorians over the past three years to return our state's finances to the strongest in the Australia," Mr O'Brien said.
 
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