Prime Minister Scott Morrison will order bosses of ‘well-paid’ civil servants to make $2.7billion cuts to help the government recoup its trillion-dollar debt, but insists the money will not will not be removed from essential services.
At a press conference near Darwin in the marginal seat of Lingiari on Tuesday, Mr Morrison said a re-elected coalition government would seek to cut $2.7bn from a $327.3bn ministerial spending budget dollars over four years.
Ask by The new daily which departments or agencies would be targeted, Mr Morrison said the cuts would not affect programs or services, but would instead target accommodation and administration costs.
“If our senior civil servants – and they’re well paid – if they can’t find $2.7 billion out of a $327.3 billion budget, well, I have a lot more confidence that they can. achieve,” he said.
“This is a sensible practical measure, which I believe is being applied responsibly to ensure that you manage your spending responsibly.”
Mr Morrison said he respected civil servants and trusted them to make ‘sense decisions’ about how they could cut funding.
“They (civil servants) understand that respect and that expectation – that’s always been my chatter with the civil service that I’ve always led,” he said.
“That means they will be making those sensitive decisions about how best to get there.”
Mr Morrison said that under a re-elected coalition government, the ABC would not be asked to cut its funding and instead its budget would increase.
But he wouldn’t wonder if it would reduce the expense of consultants and the outsourcing of work.
The Coalition used the release of its costs on Tuesday to highlight its economic management credentials, saying it would improve the bottom line of the federal budget by $1 billion over four years, compared to the March budget.
This objective will be achieved by increasing the efficiency dividend applied to government departments and agencies from 0.5 percentage point to 2%.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said $2.3 billion had been committed for 35 policies. These include more seniors having access to the health concession card, a reduction in co-payments for taxpayer-subsidized medicines and a new policy to support first-time buyers. by allowing them access to retirement.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has promised that essential services will not be cut to save money.
“The opportunities for departments … exist in terms of managing their premises, their technology, their consultants and contractors, their staffing arrangements,” Senator Birmingham said in Melbourne.
“These have no impact on the provision of services and support to Australians. Essential services remain guaranteed under the Coalition.
Mr Frydenberg has taken aim at the opposition for not yet publishing his political costs, calling on leader Anthony Albanese to “confess”.
But Labour, which is due to publish its political costs by Thursday, dismissed criticism from the government.
Australians would know the details before Election Day, campaign spokeswoman Penny Wong said.
“We’re doing what the oppositions, including Mr. Morrison’s party, have done for many elections, so there’s nothing unusual about that,” she told ABC TV.
On Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister visited a housing demonstration village near Palmerston, just south of Darwin.
The housing estate is in the Lingiari seat, which the Coalition hopes to wrest Labor from its 5.5% margin.
Mr Morrison used the visit to continue to promote the Coalition’s policy of allowing first-time home buyers to use up to 40% of their retirement savings, up to a maximum value of 50,000 $, to help buy a house.
He brushed aside Labor’s criticism of the policy, saying the party had ‘completely lost touch’ after arguing the plan would ‘blow up the housing market in Australia’.
“The single most important investment you’ve made in your entire life as a family is owning your own home,” Mr Morrison said.
“If Labor thinks it’s a gamble, then I’ve completely lost touch with the aspirations and goals of Australian families whose first goal is to make sure they can own a home.”
The Prime Minister then traveled to the nearby seat of Solomon, also held by Labor by a margin of 3.1%, to visit the Palmerston 50+ Club in a community hall.
During his visit, Mr Morrison spoke to members about law and order issues in the Northern Territory, as well as the impact of natural disasters.
He then visited the CareFlight Critical Care Aeromedical Recovery Unit, before flying to his next destination.
Mr Albanese started in Perth on Tuesday, where he channeled Australian Labor luminaries and promised to be Prime Minister for Western Australia – just like former leaders John Curtin and Bob Hawke.
“When I refer to Hawke and Curtin, it’s not an act of nostalgia, but a reminder of what can be achieved when you come to the table with courage, vision and ambition,” Mr. Albanese said.
“A reminder that good government can create deep and lasting change that improves lives. A reminder that with better government, we can build a better future.
– with the PAA