SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia is set to deliver its first budget surplus in 15 years on Tuesday, as its coffers bulge with tax windfalls from higher commodities prices and wages, a political win for the centre-left Labor government since coming to power last May.
The budget will forecast a small surplus of around A$4 billion ($2.71 billion) for the fiscal year ending June, a huge turnaround from a projected deficit of A$36.9 billion in October, according to excerpts seen by Reuters.
Deficit estimates for the subsequent years have also been revised lower.
The government is returning 82% of revenue upgrades to the budget bottom-line while making $17.8 billion in savings and reprioritisations, based on the excerpts.
That brings the total savings found across the two budgets delivered so far by the Labor government to A$40 billion.
“Our responsible economic management is all about spending restraint, substantial savings redirected to other priorities, and modest but meaningful tax changes,” said Treasurer Jim Chalmers.
“We are putting the Budget on a much more sustainable footing at the same time as we provide cost of living relief and invest in the future.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government has announced A$14.6 billion in cost of living relief, which Chalmers promises won’t worsen inflation as the central bank raises rates to keep price rises in check.
The government will also set aside a A$11.3 billion for wage rises for aged care workers and extend financial support for single parents.
($1 = 1.4758 Australian dollars)