Saturday, April 13, 2013

Finance Department update. The money's not coming in, things aren't turning up

The government’s budget woes continue to deepen in February as revenue fell $7 billion behind the official forecast for this time of year.

The previous figures for January showed revenue tracking $6 billion behind the official forecast.

The government forecast $373.7 billion of revenue this financial year. Eight months in it has collected $202.4 billion. It had expected $208.5 billion.

“The statement shows a continued write-down in government revenues, reflecting what the government has been saying for months,” said a spokeswoman for finance minister Penny Wong late Friday. “Tax receipts continue to be well below what was forecast in the mid-year economic outlook.”

In an acknowledgment that a surplus would not only be unattainable in 2012-13 but also in future years the spokesman said the low receipts would “inevitably have a big impact in 2012-13, but they will also have an impact across the entire forward estimates.”

“The write-downs are mainly due to the substantial hit to company profits as a result of the unusual divergence between the sustained high dollar and the terms of trade.”

Expenses were roughly in line with what was expected in the year to February, $720 million behind the tracking forecast...

“Contrary to the rhetoric from the Liberals, government spending has been restrained and is in line with our estimates,” the spokeswoman said.

“Since mid-2009 the government has offset all of its new spending commitments.”

The figures point to an underlying cash deficit of $23.6 billion in the eight months to January rather than the expected $17.9 billion.

The October budget update forecast a surplus of $1 billion followed by surpluses in future years of $2 billion, $3 billion and $6 billion.

Both sides of politics have dropped earlier commitments to return the budget to surplus by 2012-13 or 2013-14.

In today's Age

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