Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Julia - Budget Surplus Guarantee

Prime Minister Julia Gillard must use her National Press Club address on Wednesday to reveal the true state of the federal budget, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says.

Hockey said Gillard had avoided tough questions on the economy since the government dumped its "iron-clad" budget surplus guarantee in December.

He said the prime minister won't say how much the fifth successive Labor deficit will be, or how much the debt is projected to rise to.

She must also come clean about how she intends to pay for unfunded promises, such as the $8 billion a year needed for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the $6.5 billion needed for the Gonski education reforms, he said.

"Now that Labor have dumped their 2012/13 surplus 'guarantee', when does Labor now say they will deliver a surplus?" Hockey asked in a statement on Tuesday.

"Will the prime minister give another-iron clad guarantee to return the budget to surplus?"

He also wanted Gillard to explain how she intended to keep her promise of paying off net debt by 2020/21, given that would require surpluses of almost $30 billion a year from 2016/17.

Hockey said if she didn't answer his questions she would fail the standard she set in April 2011 when she said, "You can't run this country if you can't manage its budget".