New analysis of MYEFO papers by the Australia Institute shows the Budget surplus is based on an accounting trick that sees, for the first time, earnings from the Future Fund included in the budget bottom line. This fact is hidden in small print under the detailed tables.
This MYEFO trick, changing the accounting rules mid-stream, hides weaker projected surpluses in 20-21 and 21-22, and a deficit in 22-23.
“Rather than engaging in accounting tricks to paint a rosy picture, it would be wise for the Government to instead focus on the more important message from the MYEFO: the slowing economy,” said Matt Grudnoff, senior economist at the Australia Institute.
“The Government’s single-minded pursuit of a surplus while the MYEFO shows a slowing economy with downgrades to GDP, wages and business investment, shows just how absurd this pursuit has become.
“A sensible Government would focus on stimulating the economy, which is what the Reserve Bank of Australia and IMF are calling on the Government to do.
“While the economic boat continues to take in water and sink, rather than try and plug the holes the Government is focused on how much the plugs might cost the crew.”