Victorian leaders promise no tax hikesOn 01/31/2019 by admin
Victoria’s political leaders have promised to deliver their election commitments without stinging voters with higher fees and new taxes.
Premier Denis Napthine and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews ruled out introducing new taxes at a public debate in the marginal seat of Frankston.
Mr Andrews said Labor would improve ambulance response times and reopen TAFE campuses, but would do it through careful budget management.
“Higher taxation will not fix those (problems),” Mr Andrews said on Wednesday.
Dr Napthine also guaranteed he would not increase fees, taxes or levies, or introduce new ones, if the coalition is re-elected on November 29.
He pushed hard on the coalition’s record with TAFE and private vocational training, where the budget increased from $800 million in 2010 to $1.2 billion in 2014.
“At the same time the enrolments in vocational education and training, across the private providers and the TAFE sector, have gone up by 51 per cent,” Dr Napthine said.
But Mr Andrews got a strong response from the crowd when he said any suggestion TAFE had not been cut was wrong.
“Telling those people they’ve never had it so good in TAFE is an insult,” he said.
Mr Andrews told the crowd removing 50 level crossings around suburban Melbourne was a higher priority than connecting freeways to improve freight options.
Dr Napthine said the coalition’s $6.8 billion stage one of the East West Link road tunnel would improve freight and relieve traffic congestion around Melbourne.
Mr Andrews got an idea of the crowd’s views on the East West Link when he tried to make a point about the potential full cost of the tunnel.
“Do you want to know the true cost of this tunnel ladies and gentlemen?” Mr Andrews asked the crowd.
“No,” the reply came back.
Both leaders agreed on the need to pursue laws on medicinal cannabis, and supported the idea of an independent Parliamentary Budget Office to cost election promises.
The Sky News-Herald Sun debate was held in front of 100 voters in Frankston, the seat along Melbourne’s south-eastern urban fringe held by controversial Liberal-turned-independent MP Geoff Shaw.
The voters gave the debate narrowly to Mr Andrews on 39 votes, with Dr Napthine on 38 and 23 undecided.
The debate is expected to be the leaders’ only face-to-face showdown of the election campaign.