A brief look at an actual balanced budget
Yesterday the Labor Victorian State Government passed down its first Budget. Their Budget attracted my attention for the investment into public transport while still delivering a Budget Surplus of just over a billion dollars (Australian). The Victorian Budget outcomes I also used to convey a message in regards to Auckland’s situation here: A Message To Auckland Tories.
I saw earlier today a piece from Public Transport Users Association – Melbourne branch Daniel Bowen who was at the Victorian Budget and gave a brief summary:
I took along the world’s slowest heaviest laptop so I could take notes and draft a reaction while we looked through the information. Thankfully, they do serve you lunch, and I’m happy to report there were some pretty good sandwiches on offer.
Finance Minister Robin Smith made a presentation (which was plagued by his computer continually going to sleep) and lots of officials and ministerial advisers were on hand to answer questions about the figures, which they did admirably (apart from one question I’m still awaiting the answer to).
Certain catchphrases abounded. Apart from the (slightly meaningless) themes of “For families” and “getting on with it” seen in the literature, “the right project at the right time” was heard several times in the speech.
So it’s a much more balanced budget than most, and there’s an obvious emphasis on upgrades for the rail network, which is welcome. Perhaps they really are serious about wanting to encourage growth in rail more than in roads, which is good.
I didn’t spot anything new for cycling, though Labor had promised a new body “Active Transport Victoria” to help with cycling and walking issues. That might be one of the 4% of promises the government says they haven’t quite got to in their first budget.
Full article and the numbers: http://www.danielbowen.com/2015/05/06/state-budget-nutshell/
I have deliberately left the numbers out and you can find them over on Mr Bowen’s blog.
But from I have seen the Budget from Victoria is balanced and does well all things considered (you will never achieve “all” first off). It does remind me of the our Council’s Interim Transport Package which both myself and counterparts at Transport Blog find pretty much balanced (for the most part). The Victorian Budget also does remind me on how far behind our own National Government is in proper investment.
Remember if National were to follow Labor in Victoria then these items would be up for funding (in which they are not and even our Labour has no commitment to them either (so we are in trouble either way):
- The Third Main in Auckland starting with the Southern Line from Westfield to Pukekohe (go the whole hog here folks)
- Grade separation of our level crossings – some being death traps (Walters Road, Taka Street and Morningside Drive,
- Pukekohe electrification,
- Bus ways and the North Shore Line,
- ECMT from Hamilton to Port of Tauranga to take the ever-increasing load of freight trains,
- The North Auckland Line to North Port Whangarei that might just help the Port of Auckland wharves issue.
One wonders when National and Labour will enter the 21st Century here.