McKay fumbles on figures on first day as new Labor leader

NEW Labor leader Jodi McKay has struggled to recall key economic details - including the state's unemployment rate and GST revenue - in her first day as the alternative premier, despite having months to prepare herself for the demands of the top job.

Ms McKay yesterday made homelessness her top priority after defeating rival Kogarah MP Chris Minns in a leadership ballot over the weekend in which she secured 60.5 per cent of the overall vote.

 

But despite having over three months to prepare herself for the demands of the top job, Ms McKay stumbled several times when put on the spot yesterday.

Asked what the state's net debt position is, Ms McKay said it was "about $800 million", which is $9.6 billion off the mark.

Net debt is in fact negative $8.8 billion at June 2019, according to NSW budget papers released less than two weeks ago, meaning the state is in a positive position.

Question and answer with Jodi McKay.
Question and answer with Jodi McKay.

However, net debt is forecast to rise to $12.3 billion in 2019-20 and to $38.6 billion in 2022-23.

"The issue is for me how they're going to address that because I think it's just more sell-offs … the revenue disappears and you end up with a situation where you're losing really valuable revenue-generating assets," Ms McKay said.

Newly elected leader of the NSW Labor Party, Jodi McKay pictured leaving her home in Ashfield Sunday morning. Picture: David Swift
Newly elected leader of the NSW Labor Party, Jodi McKay pictured leaving her home in Ashfield Sunday morning. Picture: David Swift

Asked what she made of NSW's unemployment rate, Ms McKay said: "They (the government) boast about that - it's about 3.2 per cent I think at the moment - but the issue for us is underemployment."

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the unemployment rate in NSW remained steady at 4.6 per cent last month. It has also never been as low as 3.2 per cent - the lowest figure on record is 3.9 per cent in January this year.

Asked how much revenue NSW will receive in GST revenue this year, Ms McKay said: "I can't tell you." Budget figures show NSW will receive $18.7 billion in GST revenue in 2019-20 compared to $17.8 billion in 2018-19.

And while Ms McKay said the Berejiklian government was "raking in about $7 billion in stamp duty" - which is correct - she inaccurately claimed stamp duty revenue has "increased significantly over the last couple of years". Budget figures show $10 billion has been wiped off the forecast since the 2017-18 Budget.

ALP TAX CUTS 'A SHAMBLES' SAYS TREASURER

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has described Labor's opposition to tax cuts as "a shambles'' and accused the party of "blocking the tax cuts Australians voted for".

Mr Frydenberg's assault came after Senator Katy Gallagher said the economy might not be able to withstand the Coalition's full $158 billion personal tax cut package and refused to rule out voting against the package in the upper house.

"We don't know what will be happening … the situation has already changed from the election in terms of the economic outlook," Ms Gallagher said on Sky News.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Mr Frydenberg told The Daily Telegraph Ms Gallagher's comments showed "Labor are a shambles".

"They are making it up as they go along," he said.

"First they lost the election on the back of promising higher taxes then they promised to repent for their sins and end their class warfare rhetoric.

"It didn't take long to learn that nothing has changed, Labor continues to oppose our full tax package.

"Every day they have a new excuse for not heeding the message from the last election and passing the tax cuts Australians voted for."

 

 

Senator Katy Gallagher. Picture: Gary Ramage
Senator Katy Gallagher. Picture: Gary Ramage