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Election live: Liberal costings released

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Check back here through the day for updates from the election campaign.

4.05pm Weatherill attacks Liberal costings

Premier Jay Weatherill says the Liberal costings are deceptive and reveal only three years worth of spending and cuts.

He says the Liberals have hidden $400 million in spending, but have revealed a series of cuts, including “a mass sacking on July 1, where about 1200 public servants will lose their jobs.”

2.45pm Liberal costings released

The Liberals say their election promises have been costed at $605 million – which is less than the cost of Labor’s election commitments.

The Liberals say they have also identified savings worth $685 million to pay for their promises over the next four years.

Opposition treasury spokesman Iain Evans says the costings have been independently checked and include cuts to taxes and relief for families from cost of living expenses.

Evans says the Liberal plan will return the state budget to a $252 million surplus in 2015/16, similar to Labor’s projections.

Earlier this week, the government costed its election promises at $670 million, with $689 million in identified savings. Labor claimed the Liberals’ promises would cost $1.05 billion over four years.

1.15pm Record early votes

SA’s Electoral Commissioner Kay Mousley says a record number of early votes has been cast in the election so far.

By 5pm yesterday, more than 50,000 votes had been cast at early voting centre around the state. This easily surpasses the 35,300 mark set in 2010.

Another 86,000 South Australians had applied for postal votes, and Mousley said the number was likely to reach 90,000 by 5pm today when applications close.

12.28pm Drone detail

PM Tony Abbott has confirmed that a Triton drone fleet will be based at Edinburgh, “subject to the successful completion of the US Navy development programme currently under way”.

These aircraft will patrol “Australia’s vast ocean approaches”, operating at altitudes up to 55,000 feet over long ranges while remaining airborne for up to 33 hours.

Abbott says the fleet will bring “significant economic benefits to South Australia”.

“This potentially involves the expansion and enhancement of existing facilities and infrastructure at RAAF Base Edinburgh. Support requirements for Triton should create approximately $20 million annually in further opportunities for South Australian companies.”

The Government also announced a contract that includes $78 million in work for BAE in Adelaide. “This forms part of a five-year multi-million dollar contract with Boeing Defence Australia for the sustainment of the Royal Australian Air Force’s E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.”

As noted in our first post today, the likely basing of a Triton drone fleet at Edinburgh was reported by InDaily a year ago.

11.15am Labor free range egg claims “misleading”

Jay Weatherill’s election ads spruiking his free-range eggs policy have been found to be misleading.

The Electoral Commissioner ruled against Labor’s posts on its Facebook page which claimed “a new code for the free-range egg industry… [had] set a maximum of 1,500 laying hens per hectare”.

That code hasn’t been introduced yet, the Commissioner found, and so has no formal power over the industry – and therefore the posts were “inaccurate and misleading”.

Greens MLC Tammy Franks, who complained to the commissioner, is campaigning for a legislated definition for free-range eggs.

“Free range egg labels are already confusing and highly contested,” Franks told InDaily via email this morning.

“That is why the Greens – and the Liberals – want the true free range label clarified in law not tied up in a complicated, and to date non-existent, voluntary code.

“In this election campaign Labor has confused true free range egg consumers even more with their claims that they had cracked the problem. Their claim was simply not true and the commissioner ruled accordingly.”

10.55am Liberal costings on their way

Liberal leader Steven Marshall will release his party’s costings this afternoon, after he’s had his picture opportunities with PM Tony Abbott.

8.36am Abbott flies into town

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told ABC radio he’s flying into Edinburgh to announce the drones plan (see entry below), plus some extra work for local defence industry on the ‘Wedgetail’ project, which provides Australia with an Airborne Early Warning and Control capability.

Like the drones, the Wedgetail project is about enhancing Australia’s surveillance capacity.

Abbott says Premier Jay Weatherill’s campaign is “odd” – particularly his promise to “fight with Canberra”.

“Aren’t people sick of the fights?” he said.

6.50am Not much that’s new in drones plan

The Liberals have received a nice boost with a juicy front page “drop” to The Advertiser today.

The “Exclusive” says that PM Tony Abbott will be in town to stand side-by-side with state Liberal leader Steven Marshall to announce that a fleet of drones will be based at Adelaide’s Edinburgh RAAF base.

InDaily reported exclusively almost exactly a year ago – when Labor was in power federally – that a fleet of Triton drones was planned to be based at Edinburgh. In fact, then state defence industries minister Jack Snelling travelled to the US to help push the deal.

Since then, nothing much has changed. Even in today’s story, Abbott says the decision is contingent on trials in the US.

In any case, it makes a useful pre-election splash for Marshall.

 

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