Tuesday 29 March 2011

$4.5b Hole: O'Farrell Won't Rule Out Cuts

According to the local media (see here and here), after an independent audit, the new O'Farrell state government has found an unexpected $4.5 billion "black hole".

Not ruling out the possibility of unspecified budget cuts, Mr. O'Farrell did say:

"We do believe that by growing the state's economy that we can generate the revenue, not just to help fill this hole, but also to provide the quality services that people rely upon, to deliver that infrastructure that we're committed to."

Having followed the events in Wisconsin, I can't help a feeling of déjà vu in relation to the above.

However, it appears at least some local trade union members have been following the Wisconsin conflict (see here):

"Nurses, police, teachers and others public servants are hopeful the Coalition will deliver on promises of more resources, with unions warning the new government's overwhelming victory could be a one-off if they start to slash and burn.

"Public Service Association NSW general secretary John Cahill said public servants will hold new Premier Barry O'Farrell's government to account on his commitment that he believes in a bigger public service and won't cut jobs.

" 'He said that he wants to increase the number of public sector workers rather than decrease them, so he's saying all the right things, but we'll just have to make sure that he sticks to it,' Mr. Cahill said.

" 'But if there is a u-turn on some of these things that were said before the election, we'll certainly bring that to everyone's attention.' "

Update on election results:

Labor seem to have lost a seat in the Legislative Assembly to the Liberal/Nationals Coalition.

More importantly, the Greens seem to have lost a Legislative Council (upper house) seat to anti-immigration right wing independent Pauline Hanson. Together with the 4 seats of the smaller right-wing parties (Shooters and Fishers and Christian Democratic) and the 19 of the Liberal/Nationals Coalition, this gives the right wing of the Legislative Council 24 votes out of 42.

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