South Australians and Queenslanders recently learnt this the hard way, while Victorians learnt the hard-left way. Now, Western Australians look like they’re about to follow the lemmings off the cliff.
Bookies currently have Labor at $1.17, with the Liberals at $4.50. And make no mistake, this election won’t be another Brexit or Trump. Those were new movements challenging an establishment, while this election is simply a case of voters letting the other monkey have a go regardless of the cost. Indeed, you’d have to go back to 1959 when West Australians last let a State government last more than 10 years in power.
Of all the things that voters are about to let McGowan and Labor get way with, the following stand out the most:
In October last year, WA Labor committed to an obviously moronic renewable energy target of 50% by 2030. Then, after watching South Australia convert itself into South Sudan, McGowan and WA Labor simply abandoned the policy:
WA Labor this morning released a statement quoting Mr Johnston saying it “will not introduce a State-based renewable energy target”.
“We aspire to have more renewable energy,” the statement said.
“After the election, we will sit down with industry and the community to see what is achievable and affordable.”
In other words, anything bad can and will happen – including quite literally urinating our money into the sea. This is what happens when voters let politicians get away with abandoning a key policy and not replacing it with anything of substance to be held accountable on.
You have been warned.
All other things being equal, its more than fair to complain about Western Australia’s debt (around $30-$35 billion and headed towards $40 billion – $7 billion of which was created by the previous WA Labor government).
However, when you’re promising to make things even worse than your opponent going forward, then you are a simply a reckless, economic illiterate:
A $750 million slashing of the public service [TMR: not gonna to happen] and $400 million in land sales are at the centre of WA Labor’s election costings that it says will get the budget back into surplus.
The Liberals are warning that will mean more than 6000 job losses.
The costings, ticked off by two former public servants, not Treasury, estimate a capital spend over of $2.8 billion that can be easily covered by $3 billion of new funding sources [TMR: so what are these ‘sources’?]. However, that funding includes $1.1 billion in commonwealth funds earmarked for the Perth Freight Link project that it would dump, but which the federal government says it cannot have [TMR: oh yeah, let’s bank that – it’s not like the Federal government has a $400 billion plus debt of its own to worry about…].
“WA Labor has ensured that all spending decisions across the forward estimates are offset by savings, new revenue or reallocations of existing funding in the budget,” Labor shadow treasurer
Wayne SwanBen Wyatt said.
Labor’s election promises total around $5 billion but it did not include spending beyond the four-year for estimates – its own figures cost its Metronet rail project at $2.95 billion.
Labor’s costings have it getting the state’s budget back in surplus by $205 million by 2019/20 but debt still rising to more than $39 billion, compared to current forecasts of $41 billion.
Notice how that last bit hasn’t really been reported much and was even buried towards the end of the above article?
The only pragmatic thing I can say is that at least Barnett and the WA Liberals got to spend the money on:
- new hospitals;
- the Northbridge link (something previous governments had been promising for decades);
- the Elizabeth Quay development (yet another thing promised for decades);
- a new outdoor stadium;
- the Gateway project (a desperately needed upgrade to the airport’s road network); and
- the East Perth waterfront development.
Just imagine the carnage that would be about to unfold if Barnett did none of the above, dutifully balanced the books and left a blank canvass for McGowan and WA Labor.
The reality is that Labor were going to come back into power at some point. Better that they be given significantly less to waste and pay their union masters with. For this alone, Barnett can hold his head up high.
Sometimes, my fellow West Australians seem to think that our home is girt by sea and the Nullabor plain.
Have they not seen what happened in Victoria with the East-West link and the $1.1 billion that went down the toilet there? Do they not realise that when a government abandons a project that has already been started, that it costs money which doesn’t miraculously fall from the sky?
Just like Victoria, Western Australia is about to pay an insane amount of money (on top of the insane amounts already paid) not to build a road which has already been started.
How disappointing. However, that’s democracy. All you can do is take it on the chin when you lose and wait for your turn to clean up the mess.
By all means, pray for an election miracle in the meantime.