Friday, 30 August 2013

Media, politicians and political commentators get very public rap on knuckles over policy costings

29 August 2013
There have been a series of reports today regarding costings undertaken by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
The Departments of Treasury and Finance were asked to prepare costings on policy options, which were provided to the Departments by the Government prior to the election being called. These costings were completed and submitted to the Government prior to the election being called. This is consistent with long-standing practice.
These costings were not prepared under the election costings commitments' process outlined in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998.
At no stage prior to the Caretaker period has either Department costed Opposition policies.
Different costing assumptions, such as the start date of a policy, take up assumptions, indexation and the coverage that applies, will inevitably generate different financial outcomes.
The financial implications of a policy may also differ depending on whether the costing is presented on an underlying cash balance or fiscal balance basis.
The Treasury and Finance costings presented in the advice to Government reported today were presented on an underlying cash balance basis.
Dr Martin Parkinson PSM
The Treasury
Department of the Treasury
Contact: Media Liaison
Telephone: (02) 6263 2300
Mr David Tune PSM
Department of Finance and Deregulation
Department of Finance and Deregulation
Contact: Amelia Huang
Telephone: (02) 6215 2222

29 August 2013


“All PBO costings are prepared on the basis of the policy specifications provided by the parliamentary party or individual parliamentarian requesting the policy costing.”
The Parliamentary Budget Officer, Mr Phil Bowen, made this statement today in response to reports about the PBO’s role in preparing policy costings.
“PBO guidance issued on 9 May 2013 makes it clear that the PBO will not prepare costings of policies attributed to an individual parliamentarian or political party without the knowledge and active participation of that parliamentarian or political party in the costing process.
“When the PBO undertakes a confidential policy costing for an individual parliamentarian or political party, it relies solely on the policy details specified by that parliamentarian or political party.
“When an individual parliamentarian or a political party chooses to publicly release a PBO costing that has been prepared on a confidential basis for them, it is inappropriate to claim that the PBO has costed the policy of any other parliamentarian or political party.
“Unless all of the policy specifications were identical, the financial implications of the policy could vary markedly,” Mr Bowen stressed.

Contact: Phil Bowen, Parliamentary Budget Officer on (02) 6277 9510


Issue explained in Scott Steele tweets via No Fibs:

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