Budget decision defended

Will Hodgman
Will Hodgman

PREMIER Will Hodgman has defended the government's decision to delay handing down its first budget.

The budget is usually handed down at the start of June, but will not be delivered by Treasurer Peter Gutwein until August 28.

Mr Hodgman said the time frame was appropriate because the government had inherited a ``terrible budget mess''.

He said the three-month delay would give the Liberals time to implement it's policies and make sure the state's fiscal framework was sound.

``We need an adequate amount of time to ensure that Tasmania's new government, in fact Tasmania, has a Liberal government budget, that's what we're doing,'' Mr Hodgman said.

``We are providing ourselves with a reasonable amount of time that's going to give the state a clear understanding of our plan for the future, how we're going to implement our policies, how we're going to pay for them.''

Resources Minister Paul Harriss said the same circumstances applied the last time a new party took office in Tasmania. ``There's an obvious budget trajectory, there is nothing different now than what happened in 1998,'' Mr Harriss said.

However, Opposition Leader Bryan Green said the budget was in a much better position than when Labor came into government.

``When David Crean brought down a budget in 60-odd days we had a net debt situation of about $1.6 billion,'' Mr Green said.

``We've got a net debt situation of just over $100 million-odd dollars, as I understand it at the moment, and yet they're taking 100 extra days to formulate their budget.'' 

``You stride around the place saying within 100 days we'll have a budget brought down, we'll start working on our planning reforms, we'll have the forest industry growing again,'' Mr Green said.

``All of a sudden we see through that they're not delivering the actual promises they said they would.''


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