Australia’s budget deficit last year dropped A$4bn more than expected

27 Sep 17

Australia’s final budget deficit of the last financial year dropped below 2% of GDP to A$33.2bn, down more than A$4bn from the forecast in the 2017-18 budget. 

This is a result of the government’s A$5bn cutback to social services spending and higher-than-expected tax revenue, Australia’s treasurer said. 

The treasurer Scott Morrison added the federal budget is A$4.4bn better off than expected in the forecast five months ago. 

He told local reporters the government’s approach to financial management has been “successfully de-risking the budget”.

“We have has to deal with changes to what has happened on revenue but all along the line we have been holding firm to keeping expenditure under control,” he said. 

The government’s final budget outcome for the last financial year showed the government spent A$1.5bn less on all social security and welfare payments than it had estimated in the May budget.

Savings were biggest from cuts to spending for the disability sector, students, aged care, payments to families with children and general administration. 

The figures showed A$1.1bn was saved on payments for services for the disabled and A$656m less was spent in payments to students and ‘youth allowance’. 

The Australian government’s general sector net debt was A$322.3bn, or 18.4% of GDP, which was A$2.8bn better than the estimated. 

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