16 January 2019
STATEMENT FROM THE OPPOSITION LEADER GARY HIGGINS:
"It appears Labor has finally realised what it needs to do to govern in a fiscally responsible manner.
"It is extremely disappointing to see again a lack leadership and the failure of the Chief Minister to grasp the simple truth that the Territory is spending more than we make.
"We are living beyond our means. Reducing expenditure growth from six percent to three percent is a small step but it is still growth and still needs addressing.
"It’s like just making the minimum payments on your credit card and continuing to spend on it.
"We need small government going forward and the Chief Minister needs to set an example from the top if he wants to change the reckless spending culture.
"There is absolutely no reason there needs to be a Cabinet of nine. The cost of a Minister and running a ministerial office is at least more than $1.5 million a year. I hope the Chief Minister isn’t wedded to keeping his ministry at nine just to keep his restless backbench onside.
"The government has called for ideas from the public to help them deal with the financial crisis – so far we’ve suggested a freeze on executive recruitment and a stop on wasteful practices such as promotional fence wrap and stickers and rockets – immediate action they can take right now.
"This is another immediate step they should seriously consider taking.
"The blame game continued again today. This time the Chief Minister blamed his public servants for not keeping within their budgets. He said we need a cultural change. Ironic remarks given it has been his job and that of his Cabinet, to govern from the day they were sworn in two and a half years ago.
"As well, we can continue to spar over the GST argument – it doesn’t take away from the fact that THIS government has been in charge for two and a half years and have NEVER been fiscally responsible.
"In 2012, we inherited a net debt of $3.5B. By 2016, we had reduced the net debt to $1.8B. And it’s projected to be $35.7B in 2029/30."