Main Page Archive

December 2002 - November 2006

2006

ALL PARTY REPORT EXPOSES "PARTNERSHIPS" FAILINGS
Wednesday, 4 October 2006
HOMEBUYERS SLUGGED TO PAY FOR SPENDING BLOWOUTS
Tuesday, 3 October 2006
LABOR LEAKS ITS OWN FIGURES: FEES AND CHARGES TO SOAR
Wednesday, 13 September 2006
LABOR CAUGHT OUT ON WASTE
Wednesday, 13 September 2006
BRACKS PUTS THE BRAKES ON VICTORIA
Wednesday, 6 September 2006
WE'RE STILL IN A RED TAPE BIND
Thursday, 13 July 2006
5,291 FEES, FINES AND CHARGES INCREASE TOMORROW
Friday, 30 June 2006
LABOR'S MASSIVE DEBT RISE
Tuesday, 30 May 2006
YET ANOTHER BRACKS TAX
Thursday, 4 May 2006
OUT-OF-TOUCH BRACKS SEEKS TO RULE OUT TAX CUTS FOR UPCOMING BUDGET
Wednesday, 3 May 2006
ALL-PARTY COMMITTEE EXPOSES BRACKS' MISMANAGEMENT
Friday, 28 April 2006
LIBERAL PLAN - A BETTER WAY OF DELIVERING PUBLIC SERVICES
Monday, 3 April 2006 (See also policy document)
BRUMBY USES GRAND PRIX TO DUMP FEES AND FINES LISTS
Friday, 31 March 2006
VICTORIA'S GST WINDFALL LEAVES NO EXCUSES FOR BRUMBY
Friday, 31 March 2006.
BRUMBY BACKFLIPS ON ARTHUR'S HOTEL LAND TAX BILL
Monday, 27 March 2006
A BAD WEEK FOR THE VICTORIAN ECONOMY
Thursday, 24 March 2006
BRACKS' POOR RECORD ON TAX AND THE ECONOMY
Monday, 20 March 2006 Steve Bracks' claim today that Labor has done a good job ...
STAMP DUTY, GRANTS & STOCK MARKET KEEP CASH FLOWING FOR BRUMBY
Friday, 10 March 2006 Victoria's reported mid-year budget surplus from transact...
EXPORTS AND INVESTMENT IN TROUBLE UNDER BRACKS
Wednesday, 1 March 2006 The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) December quarte...
MASSIVE LAND TAX INCREASE HITS ARTHUR'S HOTEL
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 The owners of the popular Arthur's Hotel at Arthur's Seat...
LIBERAL PLAN - A BETTER WAY OF BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
Sunday, 19 February 2006   (See also policy document)
LAND TAX ASSESSMENTS - HERE WE GO AGAIN
Tuesday, 14 February 2006  Many businesses and property owners are about to get a na...
BRACKS RELIES ON SNOWY-HYDRO PRIVATISATION TO FUND SCHOOLS
Monday, 13 February 2006 The Liberal Party does not object in principle to the sal...
PRODUCTIVITY REPORT REVEALS BRACKS GOVERNMENT MISMANAGEMENT
Tuesday, 31 January 2006 Today's Productivity Commission Report on Government Serv...
THE ECONOMY BRACKS DOES NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT
Wednesday, 4 January 2006  The Victorian economy is not in as good shape as Steve Br...
VICTORIANS WON'T HOLD THEIR BREATH FOR BRACKS TO REVEAL FEES
Tuesday, 3 January 2006  John Brumby's statement today that the Bracks Government ...
2005
LABOR POSITIONS ITSELF FOR ANOTHER TAX ON MOTORISTS
Saturday, 31 December 2005 Evidence is growing that the Bracks Government is positio...
WELCOME TO 2006 - TAXES AND CHARGES RISE FROM TOMORROW
Saturday, 31 December 2005 2006 will be an even more costly year for Victorian taxpa...
FIRST HOME BUYING MORE EXPENSIVE FROM 1 JANUARY
Thursday, 29 December 2005 Buying a first home will be more expensive from 1 January...
BUDGET UPDATE: HIGH TAXING, SPENDING BLOWOUTS CONTINUE
Wednesday, 14 December 2005 Today's Budget Update is further proof that the Bracks Go...
NO LONGER THE PLACE TO BE - VICTORIANS KEEP ON LEAVING
Friday, 9 December 2005 The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data on ...
SECRET SCORESBY DOCUMENTS - BRACKS TAKES LIBS TO COURT
Thursday, 8 December 2005 The Bracks Government will continue its campaign of secre...
TRAIN, TRAM FARE RISES - COMMUTERS PAY MORE, GET LESS
Wednesday, 7 December 2005 Victorian commuters will be slugged three per cent more t...
EXPORTS & PUBLIC INVESTMENT LAG UNDER COMPLACENT LABOR
Wednesday, 7 December 2005 Today's national accounts figures have again highlighted ...
BUSINESSES CONTINUE THUMBS DOWN FOR BRACKS GOVERNMENT
Tuesday, 29 November 2005 The November Sensis Business Index Survey, released today...
UAV DEFENCE CONTRACT - BITTER REMINDER & SECOND CHANCE
Friday, 18 November 2005 Today's announcement that the Bracks Government and BAE S...
BRUMBY'S TAXING SPREE CONTINUES - FEES, FINES, TAXES UP
Tuesday, 15 November 2005 Today's September quarter financial report has confirmed ...
VICTORIA'S ECONOMY LAGS UNDER LABOR
Wednesday, 9 November 2005 Victoria recorded the second-worst economic growth of any...
BRUMBY BUNGLES NEW LAND TAX - " DOG'S BREAKFAST !"
Friday, 21 October 2005 John Brumby's long-delayed and confused announcement today confirms that...
BRUMBY'S THIRD TRY TO GET TRUSTS LAND TAX SCALE RIGHT
Friday, 28 October 2005 Labor's Treasurer John "Bungles" Brumby has been forced t...
BRUMBY SPENDS BIG ON BUREAUCRATS
Wednesday, 26 October 2005 It is clear from the burgeoning wages bill of Treasurer J...
BRUMBY WON'T RULE OUT PARKING TAX ON RESIDENTS
Tuesday, 25 October 2005 Labor's Treasurer John Brumby today refused to rule out a...
LIBS FIX LAND TAX ERROR FOR "BUNGLES BRUMBY"
Wednesday, 26 October 2005 Labor's Treasurer John Brumby appears to have the Liberal...
BRUMBY STAYS SILENT ON TRUSTS LAND TAX
Wednesday, 19 October 2005 Labor's Treasurer John Brumby has refused to give taxpaye...
NEW PARKING TAX - A BUREAUCRATIC MESS AND YOU MAY BE NEXT
Monday, 24 October 2005 Thousands of inner city residents and property owners wil...
HIGH TAXING, HIGH SPENDING BUDGET HELPED OUT BY GST
Thursday, 6 October 2005 Today's 2003-04 Financial Report shows that once again th...
BRUMBY "TOO BUSY" TO DELIVER BUDGET ON TIME
Wednesday, 5 October 2005 Labor Treasurer John Brumby's excuse that he will be too ...
BRUMBY URGES TAX REFORM, BUT WHAT ABOUT VICTORIAN TAXES?
Monday, 12 September 2005 It is the height of hypocrisy for the Bracks Government t...
NEW LAND TAX LAW SILENT ABOUT NEW TAX ON TRUSTS
.Thursday, 8 September 2005 The Bracks Government has today released proposed legisla...
LABOR'S $30,000 SERVICES TAX WILL MAKE HOMES UNAFFORDABLE
Sunday, 21 August 2005 Bracks Government proposals to impose a $30,000 services ...
BRACKS' REFORM TALK MUST BE BACKED BY ACTION
Sunday, 14 August 2005 It is welcome that the Bracks Government is finally start...
LABOR'S STAMP DUTY BACKDOWN - TRUSTS TAX MUST FOLLOW
Thursday, 11 August 2005 The Bracks Government has quietly abandoned one of its at...
NSW ABOLISHES VENDOR DUTY, NOW THE PRESSURE'S ON BRUMBY
Tuesday, 2 August 2005 Incoming New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma's announcem...
REPORT EXPOSES BRACKS' PHONEY PARKING TAX CLAIMS
Wednesday, 27 July 2005 A report by economic analysts Access Economics has confir...
PENSIONERS TO COP $7600 BILL FOR BRUMBY'S NEW LAND TAX
Monday, 25 July 2005  John Brumby's new land tax on trusts is threatening a pen...
BRACKS GRABS MORE DUTY FROM VENDOR TERMS SALES
Thursday, 21 July 2005 The Bracks Government has found another way to extract mo...

Reforming infrastructure and service provision

Two reforms are crucial to State government infrastructure and service provision: better forward planning; and greater focus on what governments actually do with the money they spend. (12 July)

Brumby's new $6,000 property tax

Thousands of property owners across Victoria are to be hit with new land tax bills of up to $6,320 on top of the massive increases they are already paying. Almost everyone in Victoria who owns a business or residential property through a trust is to be taxed from next year at a new land tax rate up to five times higher than the tax rate on other property. (29 June)

More Bracks tax stings on property owners

The Bracks Government is trying to sneak in more tax stings on property owners under the State Taxation Act (General Amendment) Bill, including  imposing stamp duty on transfers of property to shareholders when a company is wound up or reduces its capital and imposing stamp duty on the value of a property where a borrower can't meet their mortgage repayments and the bank or other lender forecloses on a mortgage. (16 June)

Victoria's growth lags nation as exports slump

Victoria's economic growth is now amongst the weakest in the nation and there have been big falls in Victoria's exports and government investment, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data show. (1 June)

Business confidence dives in Victoria

The May Sensis Business Index survey, released today, shows Victorian small and medium size business confidence in their prospects over the next 12 months has fallen from 56 per cent to 46 per cent and is well under the national average of 52 per cent. The survey findings also highlight that the key reason Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) do not support the Bracks Government is land tax, which remains a significant issue even after the State Budget. (31 May)

Brumby's land tax hoax - Labor forced to admit increases

Treasurer John Brumby has admitted that his much touted land tax changes were based on expected increases in property valuations - that means higher land tax bills for Victorians next year despite the claimed "cuts". (20 May)

Budget Reply speech

This year's state budget is more of the same from the Bracks government. There is lots of rhetoric, lots of spending and lots of taxing, but there is little prospect that this year's budget will prove any more successful than previous budgets in reversing the decline in key government services or getting vital infrastructure projects built on time and within budget.  See also edited text with charts. (5 May)

Labor fails again on land tax

Labor's second attempt in two years to fix Victoria's land tax crisis will see most taxpayers still paying more land tax next year than they paid last year. (4 May)

Brumby's pokie slug risks a "lose-lose" outcome

John Brumby's doubling of the gaming machine levy without warning will undermine the gaming industry's confidence in the stability of gaming regulation and taxation in Victoria.The additional revenue that John Brumby will get from this latest levy increase may end up being more than offset by the reduced amount that Victoria will receive for the licence renewals. (14 Apr)

Land tax crisis: Bracks just doesn't get it

Victoria's land tax crisis is not just about land tax. It is about whether the Bracks government knows what it is doing. (April)

Deciding our infrastructure needs and spending

The community must be given a comprehensive assessment of the current state of our infrastructure and of the options available to meet future needs. We must conduct a dialogue about our priorities, and we must continue to improve techniques for using private sector resources and expertise. (8 Apr)

What Labor must do urgently about land tax

Five things need to be done to end the land tax crisis:
1.  Unwind the massive increases in land tax caused by last April's bungled measures.
2.  Commit to return to the past practice of frequent adjustments to the land tax scale.
3.   Scrap the use of indexation factors, and base tax bills on individual property valuations.
4.  Ensure that land valuations are based on genuine assessments of the market value of sites.
5.  Allow taxpayers to object to their land valuations at the time they get their land tax bills. (5 Apr)

Bracks' land tax forces Whitehorse Inn to close

Hawthorn's Whitehorse Inn, run by veteran land tax campaigner Jim Ryan, has been forced to close due to further massive increases in land tax.  The land tax bill is expected to hit $40,000 this year - $7000 more than the $33,300 bill for 2004 and $38,600 more than the $1443 Mr Ryan paid in 1998. The closure will result in 17 people losing their jobs. (15 Feb)

Access Economics sound budget warning for Brumby

Economic forecasters Access Economics have warned the Bracks Government that its spending overruns will become more difficult to finance in future, presenting a test for Labor's fiscal resolve and have raised other challenges facing the budget ahead. (6 Feb)

Valuation changes to hit property owners

Proposed changes to land valuation announced by the Government threaten to lead to higher land tax and rates.  The changes will also make it harder and more expensive for property owners to object to excessive land valuations by introducing a new fee for land owners to object to valuations, and making it more difficult for objectors to recover their legal costs. (19 Jan)

2004

Commonwealth rescues budget from Brumby's spending blowouts

An extra $300 million of Commonwealth Government funding has saved the Bracks Government from a $211 million slump in the budget surplus this year due to further spending blowouts.   The 2004-05 Budget Update does not show sound financial management; rather that Treasurer John Brumby can't control spending and relies on unbudgeted revenue to prop up the budget. (15 Dec)

Latest figures show more land tax increases to come

Official land tax adjustment figures published by the Government show small and medium size businesses and investors across Victoria face massive increases in land tax in 2005, with more to come in 2006. (12 Dec)

Low investment drags down Victorian economy

Private investment (gross fixed capital formation) grew in Victoria by only 3.4 per cent in 2003-04, compared with the national average of 7.0 per cent and well below Tasmania (16.7%), Western Australia (11.9%), Queensland (9.6%), South Australia (9.1%) and New South Wales (5.9%). (12 Nov)

Market ignores Brumby's reckless sovereign risk claims

The oversubscription of applications for ConnectEast's issue of units for the Mitcham-Frankston tollway project shows the market has ignored the claims by Treasurer John Brumby and others that the Liberal policy of renegotiating the contract to remove tolls creates sovereign risk and would deter investors. (8 Nov)

Desperate Brumby peddles flawed Scoresby advice

An examination of PriceWaterhouseCoopers advice on the cost of removing Scoresby tolls shows it contains major errors, gaps and questionable assumptions - and that it has been dishonestly misrepresented by Treasurer John Brumby. (3 Nov)

No sovereign risk in Scoresby renegotiation pledge

Government claims that the Liberal policy to renegotiate the Scoresby contract to make it toll free will create "sovereign risk" are false and themselves risk unsettling potential investors. Despite Treasurer John Brumby persistently and dishonestly referring to "tearing up" the contract, the Liberal Party has made clear from the first day of its announcement that it would be renegotiating the contract on commercial terms, and expressly ruled out any use of sovereign power to override the contract. (1 Nov)

Budget result leaves no excuses for Scoresby toll

The 2003-04 budget result leaves the Government with no excuses for continuing with its plan to put tolls on the Scoresby freeway. The 2003-04 Financial Report shows Victoria has a budget surplus of $990.1 million, $745.6 million higher than the $244.5 million surplus originally forecast in the State Budget, underpinned by a $380 million increase in Federal grants, and by a $1.65 billion reduction in superannuation costs. (13 Oct)

Sensis survey shows Victoria lags behind

In the latest Sensis survey, Victorian small and medium businesses reported the worst results of any State or Territory for employment levels, sales and profitability. (31 Aug)

Labor's "Independent" Competition Commission a sham

Bracks Government claims that it has established the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) as an independent statutory body are a sham because the Commission can't recommend anything that contradicts Labor's policies, it must take direction from government, it must use staff from the Department of Treasury and Finance and its reports do not have to be tabled in Parliament.  It also appears the establishment of VCEC is not authorised under the SOE Act. (26 Aug)

Capital spending figures show Victoria is still slipping

ABS figures on capital expenditure show that the Victorian economy is continuing to hold back national economic performance, with total private new capital expenditure in Victoria in the June quarter falling by 3.2 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms, compared with a 5.6 per cent rise nationally. (26 Aug)

Bracks Government pays its bills late

A report by Victoria’s Auditor-General  – Report on Public Sector Agencies: Results of special reviews and other studies August 2004 – has found that 23% of all government bills are paid late even when the supplier has allowed a 30 day payment term.  The Victoria Police are the worst offenders. (17 Aug)

Victoria's reputation slips further over Freight Australia

The Bracks Government's poor handling of the proposed transfer of ownership of Freight Australia has led to the government being labelled by Rail America as  "bereft of any experience or competence" and that its behavior "should give pause to America companies" investing in Victoria. (29 July)

Victoria's AAA rating paid for with higher taxes

Standard and Poors' announcement that it has reaffirmed Victoria's AAA credit rating reflects the fact that the Bracks Government has consistently raised Victoria's tax take to cover its spending blowouts.  (26 July)

Sensis survey shows Victorian business suffering

The latest Sensis business index survey shows Victorian businesses are experiencing below national conditions on every indicator reported. The results of this survey suggest little support amongst small and medium sized businesses for the Bracks Government's Economic Statement despite exhaustive taxpayer-funded advertising. (26 May)

Auditor-General's reports confirm Bracks Government can't manage

Three reports tabled by the Auditor-General have exposed a litany of bungling and mismanagement by the Bracks Government in areas including TAFE, alpine resorts, toll roads, the Overseas Projects Corporation of Victoria, investment attraction programs, Education Department budgeting and hospital emergency departments. (26 May)

Payroll tax and stamp duty extensions to raise $80 million per annum

Despite promises that there would be "no hidden nasties" in the State Budget, the Bracks Government will hit Victorian business with $80 million of extra tax each year. The Budget papers show that the Bracks Government expects to rake in $20 million a year from the extension of payroll tax and an extra $60 million a year from extensions to stamp duty. (19 May)

Concerns over smelter electricity levy and wind farm rate concessions

Under new legislation, the Bracks Government is keeping open the possibility of continuing to impose a smelter levy on electricity consumers, despite announcing it would end the levy and introduce a new land tax on electricity transmission easements. The Government is also allowing wind farm operators to make claims for rate concessions against municipal councils. (5 May)

Victorians still slugged on stamp duty and other taxes

Victorian first homebuyers will still pay far more stamp duty than first homebuyers in NSW and Queensland, despite the temporary $5,000 grants scheme in the State budget. As well, land tax is set to jump by $148.5 million or 19.3 per cent next year, to $916.5 million.  Total taxes are forecast to hit $10,384.2 million in 2004-05, 8.2 per cent higher than this year's budgeted tax take of $9,593.2 million, which in turn was 9 per cent higher than the $8,802.7 million budgeted in 2002-03. Insurance taxes are budgeted to rise by 8.4% next year and motor vehicle taxes by 10.5%. (4 May)

Small and medium business dudded on land tax

Hopes of small and medium size businesses and landowners that they will get some land tax relief under the Government's economic statement have been dashed by an analysis of how the changes actually operate.  The owner of an $800,000 property is likely to face an increase of 30% or more in land tax next year, as rising property prices continue to push properties to higher and higher tax rates. (22 Apr)

Bracks Government seeks unlimited power to increase fees

The Bracks Government is set to give itself the power to increase Government fees and charges by an unlimited amount every year, while excluding Parliament's right to prevent these increases. (31 Mar).

Victorian economy holding back the nation

The Australian Bureau of Statistic's latest national accounts figures show the Victorian economy is continuing to hold back the national economic performance, as private sector investment in Victoria stalls. For the year to December, Victoria's State Final Demand - which measures total spending by households, businesses and governments - grew by only 3.3% in trend terms, compared with a national average of 5.9%, the lowest level of growth of any State or Territory. (3 Mar)

Mid-year report: more taxes and blowouts

The 2003-04 Mid-Year Financial Report shows that the government's reported surplus of $769.1 million is mainly due to continued tax slugs, the stock market recovery and an actuarial revaluation. (2 Mar)

Relief for Queensland, but Victoria's stamp duty rip-off continues

Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie has announced he will be bringing forward his promised cuts to stamp duty to help first homebuyers from July 1 to May 1 this year. But Mr Beattie's Victorian Labor colleagues are still refusing to give any stamp duty relief. (24 Feb)

2003

Productivity Commission figures show Victoria has highest stamp duty

The Productivity Commission's draft Report on First Home Ownership shows that stamp duty on a median priced house in Melbourne increased by 195 per cent between June 1998 and June 2003.  In June 1998, stamp duty on a typical house was $4,960. By June 2003, it had risen on Productivity Commission figures to $14,620, the highest stamp duty in Australia on a median priced capital city house.  (18 Dec)

Review of "Partnership Victoria" projects policy highlights flaws

A Bracks Government commissioned review of its "Partnerships Victoria" policy has highlighted serious flaws in the policy and its management, adding to concern that government bungling has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in blowouts and delays to projects including the Docklands Film Studio, the police mobile data network, and water and sewage treatment plants, according to the State Opposition. (5 Dec)

Budget Update shows revenue take, unbudgeted spending, continue to rise

The 2003-04 Budget Update shows that the Government is now budgeting to raise $496 million more in stamp duty and debits taxes than estimated at budget time.  It will also resume imposing dividends on the Transport Accident Commission - the main factor behind a $131 million increase in investment revenue estimates for 2003-04, and an average $169 million per annum increase for 2004-05 to 2006-07. Government wages costs are now expected to be $200 million higher this year than estimated at budget time, and $219.2 million higher in 2004-05. (4 Dec)

Victoria's demand growth falls further behind

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that for the year to September, Victoria's State Final Demand - which measures total spending by households, businesses and governments - grew by only 2.8% in trend terms, compared with a national average of 4.5%. (3 Dec)

Auditor-General steps up warning on finances

Victoria's Auditor-General has given his strongest warning yet about the threat posed to Victoria's finances by the Government's failure to keep within its spending budgets.   The Report of the Auditor General on the Finances of Victoria 2002-2003 also reports the Government took unbudgeted dividends of $174 million from water bodies and other public authorities in 2002-03.  (20 Nov)

Victoria's 2002-03 growth below national average

The Australian Bureau of Statistics's latest figures show that Victoria's Gross State Product growth for the year to June 2003 was 2.6%, compared to the national average of 2.8%, and well behind Queensland on 4.7% and Western Australia on 3.9%. The latest ABS estimates also show that Victoria's economic growth has been below the national average three years out of the last four. (12 Nov)

Windfalls keep budget from deficit despite spending blowouts

The 2002-03 Financial Report shows that only unbudgeted windfall tax revenue kept the Victorian budget out of deficit last year, with stamp duty,  motoring fines and other revenue bringing in $1,348.8 million of unbudgeted windfall revenue over the year to June.    At the same time, the Government ran up unbudgeted spending blowouts of more than $1,634.6 million, including a $501.4 million over-run on public sector wages. (27 Oct)

NSW acted on First Home grants two years ago

The NSW Treasurer, Michael Egan, has revealed that he warned the Victorian Government more than two years ago about possible abuses of the First Home Owners Scheme (FHOS).   While Victoria has taken no action until recently, New South Wales amended its legislation in April 2001 to insert into their Act an express requirement that a FHOS applicant be at least 16 years old unless the NSW taxation commissioner is satisfied the application is not part of an avoidance scheme. (15 Oct)

Victorian economic slowdown to continue: Access Economics

Economic researchers Access Economics have forecast that Victoria's economy will continue to under-perform the nation for at least the next four years. Access Economics' Business Outlook September Quarter 2003 forecasts that in 2003-04, Victoria will have the second lowest growth in Gross State Product of any State or Territory in Australia, of 2.2%. By 2006-07, Victoria's growth rate is expected to be 2%, compared with a national forecast of 3%. (3 Oct)

Jump in Victorian public sector wages and number of employees

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Victoria's public sector wages bill grew by 10.3% in the year to June, the highest growth of any State in Australia, and that over the year to May, an extra 5,800 public sector employees were added to the payroll, a 2.4% increase - also the largest of any State. (26 Sep)

Taxes and charges indexation commences

July 1st marks the increase in various State Government taxes and charges, and the commencement of annual indexation of charges. Motor registration fees will rise by $17 to $157, and TAC charges will also rise, taking the total cost of registering the typical family car to well over $500 a year. Other fees and fines set to increase include driver's licences and learner's permits, traffic fines, fishing licences, boat registrations, birth, marriage and death certificates and business registration fees. (30 June)

Victorian public sector wages blowout continues

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Victoria's public sector wages bill grew by 9.6% in the year to March, the highest growth of any State in Australia. (26 June)

Victorian demand growth lowest of any State

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that in trend terms, Victoria's State Final Demand growth for the year to March was the lowest of any State in Australia at 4.5%, compared to the national average of 5.4%, and well behind Queensland on 7.1%, Western Australia on 6.3% and South Australia on 6.0%. (4 June)

Extension of payroll tax grouping threatens franchisees, contractors

The Government has introduced legislation to group businesses for payroll tax whenever one business has an agreement with another business to provide services, and those services are performed by employees of the first business.  This means that small businesses such as franchisees and cleaning contractors may be grouped with their franchisor or their client, and made liable to pay payroll tax if the combined wages bill exceeds $550,000. (3 June)

Government delays proceeding with its own insurance legislation

The Opposition has criticised the Government for not proceeding with debate its own legislation to tackle public liability, medical indemnity and other insurance legislation, given the urgent need for doctors, tourism operators and others to know whether they can get insurance to remain open after 30th June. (21 May)

Budget: rising taxes and debt but services still cut and promises broken

The State Opposition says that the Victorian budget continues the tax slug on motorists and property owners, relies on rising government debt, and yet still shelves or delays numerous election promises. (8 May) [Full budget reply speech: view Hansard; view table and charts; download speech, table and charts (pdf, 231kb)]

Brumby must provide facts on rail blowout

The Government must make public further information on the alleged losses of the public transport system, given that the Government plans to continue with private sector operation of the system and says the system is now running better under private operation, the State Opposition says. (14 Apr)

Growth forecast cut adds to slippage fears

The reduction to "below 3 per cent" in the Victorian Treasury's growth forecast for 2002-03 is further evidence that the Victorian economy is losing ground relative to the rest of Australia. (4 Mar)

Labor can't blame drought for budget difficulties

The Bracks Government is not entitled to blame drought, bushfires or international factors for the tight financial situation it concealed from voters at last year's early State election, the State Opposition says. (6 Feb)

Budget update confirms spending blowouts

The Budget Update shows that, compared with the May budget, there has been an unbudgeted $680.2 million increase in spending for 2002-03 and a total increase in spending of $1,961.3 million over 2002-03 and the next three years.  Of the $1,961.3 million increase, only $662 million represents policy initiatives. The rest represents further wage cost increases, superannuation blowouts and items described as "expenditure reclassifications" and "other administrative variations". (15 Jan)

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