12/04/2012 12:26 EST | Updated 02/03/2013 05:12 EST

New Brunswick auditor general concerned with growth of provincial net debt

FREDERICTON - The auditor general of New Brunswick says the pace of net debt growth in the province is not sustainable in the long term and significant changes are needed to address the problem.

In her annual report released today, Kim MacPherson says the $3.3 billion increase in the net debt over the last five years is a disturbing trend.

In August, the provincial government said the net debt was $10 billion.

MacPherson says there have been some positive signs, including last year's reduction in the deficit compared to the previous year, resulting in a slowing of debt growth.

But MacPherson says there has not been enough progress on improving the province's finances.

She says she welcomes a government commitment to return to balanced budgets by 2014-15, but wants a long-term plan for decreasing the net debt.