Hodgman must match surplus commitment Sat 19 May 2012 Lara Giddings Premier The Premier, Lara Giddings, today challenged Will Hodgman to match the State Government's commitment to return the Budget to surplus by 2014-15. Ms Giddings said the Government had a responsible plan to return to surplus within two years, built on the strong savings decisions that began in last year's Budget. "The challenge for Will Hodgman is to show that he can match that commitment with a credible and costed alternative budget," Ms Giddings said. "It is all very well to oppose the Government's savings and revenue measures at every step of the way, but the Liberals must put up their alternatives. "If Mr Hodgman opposes the modest increase in motor tax then he has to say what services he will cut to make up the short fall. "He will also need to explain to Forestry Tasmania's 300 employees why he doesn't believe they should be supported through the market-driven slump in the forest industry. "The key question for Will Hodgman today is; will he be using the less reliable GST forecasts of the Commonwealth in his alternative budget, despite the fact they don't show the guaranteed uplift that will occur when the RHH funding flows through the system?" Ms Giddings said the Liberal Party's reported promise to account for the rollback of the Federal Government's price on carbon left the Liberal Party exposed to a gaping revenue shortfall. "If Mr Hodgman chooses to not factor in carbon revenue and uses the Commonwealth forecasts in his alternate budget, he will have to detail which areas of government he would gut to make up the shortfall. "By removing carbon benefits Mr Hodgman is telling Tasmanians that they would not receive ongoing power price relief under his alternate government because he was too gutless to stand up against Tony Abbott. "If Will Hodgman is giving up the fight with Tony Abbott so easily then what hope has he got of reversing the Federal Opposition's disastrous GST policy, which could see a further $700 million ripped out of Tasmania?" Ms Giddings said the Government's plan to return the Budget to surplus by 2014 was credible and achievable. "In contrast, last year's Liberal Alternative Budget contained a $500 million black hole from day one and Tuesday's effort is shaping up to be similarly bogus. "I suspect come Tuesday my Government will still be the only one with a credible plan to realise a better future for Tasmania. "If the Liberals fail to match our commitment to surplus, they will be confirming that their only plan is to drive Tasmania deeper into debt."