The costings also don’t include the price of Labor’s offer to increase public service wages by more than 3 per cent, which is above the current 2.5 per cent limit imposed by the Coalition.
The budget office said it couldn’t calculate the wages cost “because any benefits would occur on an agreement-by-agreement basis and, for many government services, the impact on the budget of agreed productivity improvements is uncertain.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said: “The last time Labor tried this, wages ran at over 4 per cent and broke the bank.”
Two of the most expensive Labor policies are a promise to hire some 5000 nurses, which would cost an estimated $416 million over four years, and refunding tolls on the Transurban-owned M4 motorway at a cost of $248 million.
The Coalition’s policies would cut taxes by $51 million over four years, the office estimates, and the budget would be worse off than under Labor because $504 million in procurement savings wouldn’t offset $1.2 billion in new promises.
The Coalition’s most expensive policies also include 5000 nurses and midwives, although at a cost of only $119 million, and $175 million to repair local roads.
Even though the Labor Party opposed the demolition of Allianz Stadium, it has budgeteda $685 million loan for a replacement. The government’s decision to build a new rugby and soccer stadium has dominated the campaign, which ends on Saturday.
A Labor government would also have to spend $128 million to keep the Sirius building, a controversial brutalist apartment block next to Sydney Harbour Bridge that the government wants to sell to property developers.
The Coalition’s plans would add another $7 billion to the state’s debt, which Labor’s treasury spokesman, Ryan Park, said would lead to extra borrowings or privatisations, which has been one of the themes of Labor’s attack on the government.
“The only way that they can pay for their commitments is to take on more debt than already forecast or privatise more assets,” he said.
Healthy tax receipts from a property boom has given NSW one of the strongest budgets in Australia, and the government has said it doesn’t plan any more asset sales.
Polls suggest the election is too close to call and may lead to a hung parliament. A YouGov-Galaxy poll published Monday morning found the government is in trouble in the seats of Penrith and Goulburn.