Greg Jericho makes a very similar assessment to Michael Pascoe's about the Coalition's costings:
Six billion dollars over four years. Or, given the total revenue over that time will be about $1,657bn, that’s about 0.36% of the budget over those years. Not a lot of room for error.
But they were about attacking waste. There was oodles of it, don’t you know. So how did they end up $6bn better off?
Well, today Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb, in a laughable 22-minute press conference, announced they will be cutting the growth of the foreign aid budget by $4.5bn, rephasing the water buyback scheme from over four years to over six years (a saving of $650m over four years) and a further 0.25% efficiency dividend for the public service to get $428m.
Those three measures account for 92% of the improvement of the Liberal party’s budget bottom line.
Talk about taking the tough choices. Cutting the growth in foreign aid. Who knew that was the biggest waste in government spending!As Jericho then points out, the ridiculous thing is that Abbott is also trying to straddle the fence of whether or not the "commission of audit" will mean further cuts.
It's all pretty ludicrous.
Update: by the way, surely the re-assigning of rail money to road construction indicates a pretty ad hoc approach to working out which infrastructure project is most beneficial? I have complained about this a few times recently - everyone's saying it's important to put money into the "right" form of infrastructure, but making a trip to work, say, 15 minutes faster would seem something pretty hard to assess for its economic consequences.
Update 2: John Quiggin sounds the warning about the "commission of audit".