Senator Ronaldson, Ballarat’s patron senator, said he expected the budget to produce an artificial surplus.
“This will be a ‘cook the books’ budget rather than a ‘kitchen table’ budget,” Mr Ronaldson said.
“The budget will be all about Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan’s future rather than the futures of local families and business who are about to be hit with the world’s biggest carbon tax.”
But Ballarat MP Catherine King said there had already been three major pre-budget announcements for this electorate, including the new school kids’ bonus announced yesterday.
“About 9950 Ballarat families will get a lump sum payment of more than $400 for primary school children and more than $800 for secondary school children,” Ms King said.
“This will put $10.4 million straight into Ballarat’s pockets.”
She said $3.3 million had already been announced for the Ballan GP Superclinic and she was hopeful of further health announcements on budget night. As well, a $350 million blitz on public dental waiting lists would help Ballarat, where the issue was of “incredible concern”.
“All of these will be of direct benefit to Ballarat,” Ms King said.
But Senator Ronaldson said Labor had shuffled billions off the balance sheet, including the multi-billion dollar National Broadband Network.
“Labor has cooked the books and artificially boosted the budget position by $10 billion. The real starting point for (the) budget is not a $1.5 billion surplus but an $8.5 billion deficit.”
Senator Ronaldson warned the carbon tax would cause not only electricity bills to rise but also the cost of food, transport, clothing, eating out, dry cleaning, council rates and household budget items.
“The government’s broken promise on the private health insurance rebate will also see the cost of private health insurance increase by up to $1000 a year.”
Editorial, page 11