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14 March 2013

The NSW Government today introduced legislation into Parliament to establish the most transparent and effective Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) in the nation.

Treasurer Mike Baird said the introduction of a revised Parliamentary Budget Officer Act responds to recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into the future role and functions of the NSW PBO.

This fulfils the O’Farrell Government’s long-standing commitment to provide NSW taxpayers with more accurate, timely and independent information on the cost of election commitments,” said Mr Baird.

It’s easy for political parties on both sides to make big spending promises in the lead up to an election, but taxpayers are often left wondering how much these are going to cost and where the money is coming from to fund them.”

In Opposition we argued the need for greater transparency on policy costings and today we are proposing a PBO for NSW which will provide the strongest independent costings in the country.”

Mr Baird said NSW is the only State or Territory with a PBO in place and that NSW’s PBO offers much greater transparency and accountability compared to the Commonwealth’s approach.

We have already heard that Wayne Swan’s PBO won’t reveal the results of its audit of election policies until 30 days after Australians vote. In contrast, our PBO will release the costings on the Monday prior to election to ensure NSW taxpayers are fully informed ahead of election day.”

Key features of the NSW PBO include:

-           Aligning the operation of the PBO to each election

-           Submission of policies for costings will be mandatory for the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition.

-           Comprehensive listing of reporting requirements to ensure that the Budget impacts are clearly reported.

-           Allowing the PBO to release more than one budget impact statement prior to each election to capture any the late policy announcements.

-           PBO officer will be appointed based on recommendations from an independent panel.

Every electorate deserves to know that promises made in the lead-up to an election can be afforded and are independently costed. NSW will now have the best and most accountable PBO, which is exactly what taxpayers would expect,” said Mr Baird.


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