State Election: Both major parties breaking the bank on election promises

The City should wear the cost of their mistake, not residents
The City should wear the cost of their mistake, not residents

AS the State Election draws near, experts have urged the major parties to outline how they will save money – rather than spend it.

The 2017 campaign has seen a host of expensive promises from both major parties.

But with grim forecasts from Treasury, experts want to see spending reined in.

The State’s debt is tipped to hit $41.1 billion in 2020, with a deficit of $535 million.

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Yet Colin Barnett and Mark McGowan are throwing money around in a bid to shore up seats.

Since the start of the year, the Liberals have made $2.39 billion worth of election promises.

Among them are a $560 million pledge to upgrade WA high schools and $520 million on a Thornlie-Cockburn rail link.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Ben Wyatt declared the government’s spending reckless, but his own party has hardly been restrained.

Since January 1, Labor has made $1.26 billion worth of promises over and above Metronet, valued at $2.53 billion on its own.

Former Treasurer Eric Ripper said whoever wins government would have a tough time balancing the books.

“(Aim) to keep new expenditure down – the first way to control spending is not to agree to any more,” Mr Ripper said.

“Run a very tight ship, try to get some decent operating surpluses and use them to contain the debt.

“My prediction is taxes will go up, whoever wins.”

Dr Martin Drum, a senior lecturer in politics at Notre Dame University, agreed spending needed to be curtailed.

“I think it would greatly assist in the credibility of the major parties to clearly and concisely outline a range of measures that they would implement to get savings in the current operational budget,” Dr Drum said.

“I think that would go a long way to assuaging fears around spending commitments.

“We still need to see more indication from both sides of politics as to what saving they might implement in order to pay for their promises.”

Five of the biggest:

Liberal:

$560 million to upgrade 69 high schools

$520 million on the Thornlie-Cockburn rail link

$190 million to combat meth

$181 million for the Roe 9 tunnel

$140 million to develop health services in the northern corridor

Labor:

$2.53 billon to develop Metronet

$381 million on new school infrastructure

$167 million to expand Joondalup Health Campus

$125 million for Wanneroo Road upgrades

$121.8 million to employ 470 more education staff