In a surprising turn of events, the Australian government has revealed a much larger-than-expected budget surplus for the previous financial year.
The Federal Department of Finance Records released this year’s predicted budget, showing that the surplus has grown to $19 billion, five times greater than the $4.2 billion figure announced by Treasurer Jim Chalmers in May.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attributes the surplus as a result of the government’s “responsible economic management” and believes Australians will welcome the news even though many households across the country continue to grapple with the rising cost of living.
“The fact that we’ve turned a $78 billion deficit that was forecast under the Liberal National Party government just over a year ago into a surplus that’s in excess of $4 billion is a positive thing,” Albanese said.
“It will take pressure off inflation, and the government’s been determined to do that.”
When questioned about the contrast between the significant boost to the Commonwealth’s financial standing and the ongoing struggles of households amidst the cost of living crisis, Albanese pointed out the series of relief policies recently introduced in the budget.
“But these measures will make a real difference. $3 billion, together with states and territories, on energy price relief, the cheaper child care for 1.2 million families, the additional support for people to get into homeownership… increased paid parental leave, cheaper medicines.
“All of these will make a difference on cost-of-living pressures for families.”
Albanese argued that he believes “Australian families will look at the federal budget and say it is good that we have a government that is putting in place responsible budget management in order to put that downward pressure on inflation.”
“They know that responsible economic policy from the federal government is important and has a flow-on impact that is positive for families,” he said.
However, the Federal Opposition has dismissed and criticised Albanese’s suggestions, arguing that they aren’t doing enough to address the surge in electricity prices.
“Australians will be paying the highest power prices they’ve ever seen,” Shadow Energy Minister Ted O’Brien said.
“Labor might be licking its lips with a budget surplus, but Australian households are on their knees in pain.”
According to O’Brien, “Labor should not confuse dumb luck with good policy.”
“If it were good policy, they’d be forecasting surpluses well into the future — but that’s not the case,” he said.
“Where there’s a surplus, it’s because the government is receiving more tax dollars, they are taxing companies, they are taxing the Australian people.”