Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Coalition Says Programs Won't Be Cut for Surplus

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Coalition Says Programs Won't Be Cut for Surplus

Article excerpt

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has batted away criticism of the Coalition's policy costings, guaranteeing no programs other those already specified would be cut to deliver the promised surplus.

The costings, released on Wednesday, were done by an independent audit firm after Treasury analysis of a Coalition policy was leaked to a newspaper.

Treasurer Wayne Swan claims there are so many errors in the costings it will take time to work through them all.

"There are serious errors, there are mistakes, there are black holes, there are savage cuts," he said yesterday.

There was a $3 billion hole because the Coalition had not accounted for spending from the Nation-building Funds, Mr Swan said.

He and other analysts also are calling attention to the Coalition's use of a reduction in the Budget contingency fund to reach its forecast surplus of $6.2 billion in 2012/13, almost double that promised by Labor.

"It is a buffer that has existed under government of both persuasions," Mr Swan said. …

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