All up as far as I can tell (with the best part of a decade spent looking at federal budgets) it’s a pretty crappy effort with the cuts mostly coming from shifting spending to out years and the spending going on electoral bribes unlikely to increase the wealth of the nation.
BT Financial’s Chris Caton has produced a budget review and this summary:
The 2012/13 Budget was framed against an intriguing background; a Government in trouble and a two-speeded economy, both desperately seeking traction. In the past two Budgets, the Labor Government made a commitment to return to surplus in 2012/13. In the run-up to Tuesday night, it repeated this commitment at length. So it is no surprise at all that the Budget for 2012/13 projects a wafer-thin surplus of $1.5 billion. Given that a substantial deficit will be recorded this year (the current estimate is $44.4 billion), this will be a massive fiscal turnaround if achieved, equivalent to just over 3% of GDP (see table below). Not only would it be unprecedented in Australia, it would have rarely happened elsewhere. At present, probably only Greece and New Zealand are engaging in fiscal tightening of the same magnitude.
Over the next twelve months the Federal Labor Government’s ambitious capital works program will continue unabated, with the 2012–13 Budget delivering a further instalment of $21.4 million in funding to start, progress and complete a range of projects in the Australia Capital Territory.
All up, we are providing an unprecedented $251.6 million from our six-year Nation Building Program (2008–09 to 2013–14) to rebuild and renew the Territory’s road infrastructure. Already, Federal Labor has almost doubled annual infrastructure spending per local resident in the ACT from $72 to $114.
As a result of this record funding, the new Majura Parkway will go from the drawing board to construction in the coming financial year (Federal contribution: $144.0 million).
At the other end of the construction cycle, we expect to complete work on the duplication of the Monaro Highway between Canberra Avenue and Newcastle Street by the end of June next year (Federal contribution: $18.5 million).
The 2012–13 Budget also maintains funding for a range of initiatives designed to make our local roads better and safer including:
– $1.0 million to eliminate dangerous black spots on local roads;
– $20.0 million to assist the ACT Government to maintain and upgrade their local roads.
Chief Minister Gallagher has announced what she’s going to do:
“I have sought an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the implications of the budget.
“In addition and for the first time I will establish a sub-committee of Cabinet, which will draw in business and community leaders to shape our response to the outcomes and impacts of the budget.
“What’s needed today, tomorrow and in the months ahead is stability, cool heads and a determination to do what’s right by Canberrans.
“I have asked the Head of the ACT Public Service and the ACT Commissioner for Public Administration to confer with the Australian Public Service Commissioner about what opportunities there may be for the ACT Public Service to absorb workers affected by the Federal Government’s cuts.”
The Chief Minister said the ACT’s economy is resilient, with low unemployment and skilled workers, putting it in a strong position to weather the budget. New measures from the ACT Government, such as payroll tax reforms that would create 575 new jobs, were already helping business.
“We will use the Federal Budget to inform our own budget decisions. Many would argue that maintaining our own expenditures in the upcoming ACT budget is essential. This may place additional pressure on our bottom line, but we have a strong balance sheet and a AAA credit rating. We have a tough couple of years ahead where our budget can provide some economic stability,” the Chief Minister said.
So basically it’s going to be used as an excuse for runaway ACT Government debt.
The 2012-13 Budget is a responsible budget that will deliver much-needed cost-of-living relief to families and businesses under pressure in Canberra.
The Government is returning the Budget to surplus, on time as promised, which will provide a buffer in uncertain global times.
The Budget outlines a reduction to average staffing levels across the public sector which means the Canberra public sector will contract by 1,500 positions through the uptake of voluntary redundancies and natural attrition.
This will take us back to 2009-10 levels and is based on each agency’s expectations of their staffing. The APS will continue to pursue graduate recruitment at levels comparable to the historical high of 2011.
The Gillard Government has delivered few positives for Canberra in a bitter Budget which will see Commonwealth public service numbers slashed and the Government renege on its regularly repeated promise to seed the retro-greening of commercial buildings.
Property Council ACT Executive Director, Catherine Carter, said the proposed billion dollar Tax Breaks for Green Buildings incentive, announced during the last election, would have provided employment for the Canberra property and construction industry.
The incentive would also have delivered much-needed assistance to retro-green office buildings left empty by Commonwealth tenants that have moved on to newer buildings.
“This is not a Budget that treats the ACT well. However, there is some consolation for Canberra with the announcement of $11.9 million in funding for the National Capital Authority to assist with its ongoing financial sustainability. This funding is important as it will help the Commonwealth to maintain its role in strategic planning for Canberra, through a properly resourced NCA,” Ms Carter says.
“The Property Council also welcomes the announcement that $500,000 is to be provided by the Commonwealth to the ACT Government to assist in the development of a master plan for Civic – something that the Property Council has advocated for many years.”
Liberal Senator Gary Humphries has the intriguing proposition that planned Liberal cuts are better because they’re not going to be a surprise.
Thursday 10 May 2012 responses
The Liberals are enjoying twisting the knife, pointing out all the local Labor member promises of no job cuts.