State Government debt rises will cost $341 million in extra interest 

Jun 30, 2023 | Neil Thomson MLC, State News

 The Shadow Treasurer Steve Thomas says yesterday’s budget estimates have confirmed the interest to be paid on additional debt in coming years will come at an annual cost of $341 million. 

“The Government confirmed yesterday that the forward estimates should be believed when they indicate that Total Public Sector net debt will rise from $32 billion when the Labor Party took Government in 2017 to an expected $36 billion in 2026-27,” Dr Thomas said. 

“While the McGowan Labor Government took debt down from $32 billion to $28 billion at the end of the 2022-23 financial year today, the Cook Labor Government is predicted to take it back up to $36 billion over four years. 

“That’s down $4 billion under the McGowan Government but back up $8 billion under Premier Cook. 

“The Government has confirmed that those predictions are to be trusted and that the added debt will add $341 million to our annual interest costs.” 

This number is confirmed in the Budget papers (Budget paper 3 page 233 attached) which shows cash interest costs rising from $1.627 billion in 2022-23 to $1.968 projected in 2026-27. 

“This represents a rise of $341 million or 21 per cent from today in four years’ time,” Dr Thomas said. 

“I am pleased to have the Government confirm in estimates that under its watch both debt and interest costs will rise during the biggest fiscal boom this state has ever seen. 

“I am especially pleased to have the Government confirm in estimates that those numbers are to be trusted. 

“I am therefore not surprised that former Premier Mark McGowan was apparently upset that he was not receiving enough adulation for his financial management as reported in the media. 

“Premier Cook and Treasurer Rita Saffioti might find themselves suffering from a similar level of disappointment if the budget books can be trusted.”