Media Releases → 2024

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Delivering responsible economic management

SENATOR THE HON KATY GALLAGHER
Minister for Finance
Minister for Women
Minister for the Public Service
Senator for the ACT

HON DR JIM CHALMERS MP

Treasurer

Date: Wednesday, 15 May 2024

The Budget forecasts the first back-to-back surpluses in nearly two decades.

The underlying cash balance is forecast to be $9.3 billion for 2023-24, following the $22.1 billion surplus last year.

Our responsible approach to the Budget is supporting monetary policy by keeping pressure off inflation. We are banking over 96 per cent of tax upgrades this year while inflation is still above the band.

Our extension to energy bill relief and increase to rental assistance are expected to directly reduce inflation by half of a percentage point in 2024–25 and not expected to add to broader inflationary pressures.

While there is heightened uncertainty to the outlook, Treasury is forecasting that because of our cost-of-living policies, inflation could return to the target band by the end of this year.

We are striking the right balance between keeping pressure off inflation, easing cost of living pressures, supporting sustainable growth and building fiscal buffers in an uncertain global environment.

Since coming to office, the Albanese Government's responsible fiscal management has: 
•    Improved the cumulative underlying cash balance by an estimated $215 billion, reducing cumulative deficits by around two thirds over the six years to 2027–28. 
•    Returned 82 per cent of tax upgrades to the Budget over the forward estimates, including 96 per cent in 2023–24 in this Budget. 
•    Found $77.4 billion in savings and re-prioritisations. 
•    Limited real spending to an estimated average of 1.4 per cent since we came to Government until 2027-28, compared to the 30-year average of 3.2 per cent and the 4.1 per cent average of our predecessors. 
•    Lowered the projected peak in gross debt as a share of GDP from 44.9 per cent of GDP to 35.2 per cent of GDP – lowering the peak by almost 10 percentage points of GDP. 
•    Avoided around $80 billion in interest payments over the medium-term due to the improvements to the Budget position. 
Australia is not immune from global uncertainty and subdued global growth, moderating but high inflation and higher interest rates.

Our economy faces these challenges from a position of economic strength with our budget returning to surplus ahead of any major advanced economy, inflation that is now less than half of its peak, a resilient labour market with unemployment close to 50-year lows, a return to annual real wage growth and a solid pipeline of business investment.

In difficult times, the Albanese Government’s responsible approach is all about taking pressure off inflation, easing cost of living pressures, rebuilding fiscal buffers and laying the foundations for future prosperity.

[ENDS]

Media Contact(s)

Treasurer's Office: Fergus Maguire 0487 258 680 | fergus.maguire@treasury.gov.au 
Finance Minister's Office: Gallagher.Media@finance.gov.au