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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Victorian premier's plan to repay 'COVID credit card'

Premier Daniel Andrews plans to tackle rising government debt in the upcoming Victorian budget, saying it is time to pay back the state's COVID-19 credit card.


Paying back the COVID-19 credit card will be a priority for the Victorian government in next week's state budget.


Daniel Andrews maintains all of Labor's election commitments will be delivered when the budget is handed down.


But he says the government needs to address the state's growing debt, which is predicted to hit $166 billion by mid-2026. 


The money borrowed during the COVID pandemic was not "productive debt" that made the economy bigger, Mr Andrews said.


"It was like a COVID credit card," he told reporters on Friday.
"We borrowed in an emergency to save lives, save jobs and get through a terrible, terrible event."

He said the government had a plan to repay the debt but wouldn't release details ahead of the budget.


"Unless we get the COVID credit card balance back down to zero, if something else confronts us, we won't have capacity to do what we did last time," Mr Andrews said.

The premier also refused to say whether job cuts to the public service were on the cards.

The Community and Public Sector Union said departments have been told to prepare to slash 10 per cent of ongoing staff.


"Let's just wait and see what's in the budget on Tuesday," Mr Andrews said.

The premier confirmed the government would deliver a budget surplus, saying it was part of its election commitments.


Last year's pre-election budget update forecast Victoria would post a modest $894 million return to surplus in 2025/26.


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