Review of Government spending seeks debt target

20 March 2024 Read the report

Committee Chair Sarah Connolly is encouraging Victorians to read the latest report on financial and performance outcomes.

A new report is urging the Victorian Government to set a target for stabilising net debt.

The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) has looked at the state’s financial and performance outcomes over the 2021-22 and 2022-23 financial years.

It found net debt increased by $15 billion to reach $115 billion (20.3% of Gross State Product) between June 2022 and June 2023.

Debt levels aside, the review noted that progress has been made in three of the four steps of the Government’s fiscal strategy.

The labour market and gross state product growth have rebounded since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government is also making headway in returning to an operating cash surplus and operating surpluses.

Various Government department secretaries, the chief executive officer of Court Services Victoria and representatives from parliament appeared at PAEC public hearings held in November 2023 as part of the inquiry into the 2021-22 and 2022-23 financial and performance outcomes.

Meantime, the report highlights Health Department data that shows the proportion of people accessing mental health beds from emergency departments within the target time is the lowest in 13 years.

Just 39.5% of patients were moved from an emergency department to a bed within eight hours in 2022-23. 

The Committee found that Priority Primary Care Centres have a role in reducing wait times in emergency departments and increasing access to urgent primary care for Victorians.

It recommended the November 2023 evaluation of the centres be published.

Wait times for public rental housing for people experiencing family violence have increased with greater reporting of family violence and therefore demand for housing.

The Families, Fairness and Housing Department did not meet any of its performance targets relating to housing and family violence in both financial years.

The Government’s investment in the screen industry has translated into 22,000 project jobs and added $825 million to the State’s economy.

PAEC also found there is currently limited public information about what Homes Victoria has communicated to current tenants about the retirement of Melbourne’s 44 public housing towers.

The Committee has made several recommendations relating to the basis for the project, the type of housing to be established and how tenants will be assisted to relocate during the project.

The report covers the two financial years because of the state election held in November 2022.

You can read it in full, including all 140 findings and 56 recommendations on PAEC’s website.