Joe Hockey
Joe Hockey

Coalition to cut regional projects, foreign aid by $7b

THE Coalition will cut $4.5 billion from the foreign aid budget and $2.4 billion from regional infrastructure projects, to fund other government construction projects around the country.

After a lengthy debate over the release of the Coalition's official costings, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey on Thursday released what he said were the party's official costings.

The figures showed a potential $16 billion reduction in government debt and a $6 billion cash improvement in the bottom line.

While the data was endorsed by a panel appointed by the Coalition, neither the Treasury Department nor the Parliamentary Budget Office has endorsed the party's purported costings.

The costings match existing funding allocations for the Bruce and Pacific Hwys over the forward estimates.

According to the costings document the "Coalition's funding commitment for these projects is greater than the government's beyond the forward estimates".

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took to Twitter to claim the Coalition plan for total federal/NSW funding for the Pacific Hwy would equate to a cut of almost $2 billion during the next four years because of the change from a 50:50 to an 80:20 federal/state funding split.

However, the figures were reliant on the assumption the Coalition's allocations were more than Labor's funding promises "beyond the forward estimates", meaning extra spending promised on the projects after 2016-17 have not been accounted for.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who has declared himself wanting to be an "infrastructure Prime Minister", has also cut $2.5 billion from the Regional Infrastructure Fund.

The proposed re-allocation would move the funds from infrastructure projects in regional areas to city-centric projects including the $1.5 billion WestConnex link in Sydney.

Figures also show the Coalition's plan to "stop the boats" included a $1.2 billion savings from returning Australia's humanitarian intake back to 13,750 a year.

The dividend from the Coalition's asylum seeker policy also saves $1 billion, but is based not on an assumption to actually "stop the boats".

Instead, the savings was based on a reduction of irregular maritime arrivals to a "long term average rate of 370 per month by the end of 2014", then down to 50 arrivals a month by 2016-17.

The figures also show the Coalition's plan to axe the carbon tax will see the Commonwealth forego $13.5 billion in extra tax revenue over the next four years.

The Costings

  • $4.5b cut from growth in foreign aid
  • $2.48b cut from Regional Infrastructure Fund
  • $13.5b in revenue foregone by removal of carbon tax
  • $4.9b in revenue foregone by company tax rate cut
  • $16b in debt reduction
  • $6b in savings for budget
  • $5.2b in savings from cuts to 12,000 public servant jobs
  • $1.2b in savings by cutting refugee intake to 13,750
  • 2.5% public service efficiency dividend, rise of .25%