After decade of deficits, budget ‘back to balance’, says Frydenberg

Original article by Adam Creighton, Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 20-Sep-19

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveiled a budget deficit of $700 million for the 2018-19 financial year on 19 September. Frydenberg noted that the federal government had kept spending under the long-run average of 24.7 per cent of GDP for the second year running, while he said the creation of 300,000 jobs in 2018-19 had meant increased tax collections and reduced welfare expenses. The $700 million deficit was a $14 billion improvement on what had been predicted in May 2018, while a budget surplus is likely for 2019-20 if high commodity prices and strong employment growth continue to boost the government’s tax coffers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Treasurer in bid to allay surplus fears

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 8-Aug-19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has downplayed concerns about the US-China trade war, stressing that it will not affect the federal government’s timetable for returning the Budget to surplus. Frydenberg has acknowledged that financial market volatility following China’s move to devalue the yuan was a concern, but he has cautioned against an overreaction. Labor has urged the government to bring forward income tax cuts and infrastructure spending in order to stimulate the economy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Costello’s warning to retirees

Original article by Greg Brown, Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 7-Aug-19

Future Fund chairman Peter Costello has urged the US and China to "sensibly negotiate" a resolution to their ongoing trade dispute in the wake of a global financial rout. The Australian sharemarket has shed $86bn in the last two trading sessions, following China’s move to devalue its currency; Costello has warned that Australians’ savings and the federal Budget will be impacted if the trade dispute is not resolved. However, he says it is important to not "overhype" the recent market slump.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FUTURE FUND MANAGEMENT AGENCY, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, CITIGROUP INCORPORATED, UNITED STATES. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

No surplus sacrifice for dole boost

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 22-Jul-19

The federal government is resisting pressure from welfare groups and unions to increase the Newstart allowance by $75 a week. The Treasury estimates that this would cost $12.5bn over four years and $39bn over a decade, and it would slash the projected Budget surplus for 2019-20. Labor has also called for Newstart to be increased, although it has not nominated a figure. Employment Minister Michaelia Cash says the government’s priority is getting people off welfare and into the workforce, and notes that Labor has opposed or criticised all of the Coalition’s employment programs.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, NATIONAL SENIORS AUSTRALIA LIMITED, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Stick to surplus to keep AAA

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 9-Jul-19

S&P Global Ratings upgraded Australia’s credit rating outlook to ‘stable’ in September 2018. S&P’s Anthony Walker says the federal government must retain its target of returning the Budget to surplus in 2019-20 in order to retain its triple-A credit rating. He has stressed the need for the government to have a strong public balance sheet so it can respond with fiscal stimulus if there is an external shock to the economy in the future. Martin Petch of Moody’s Investors Service in turn says the Australian economy will be boosted by factors such as the government’s income tax cuts, official interest rate cuts and spending on infrastructure.

CORPORATES
S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, HSBC AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Budget close to surplus and a year early

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 24-Apr-19

The federal government had an underlying cash deficit of $8.1bn in the first nine months of 2018-19, according to monthly Budget data from the Department of Finance. This is $4.6bn lower than had been projected in the mid-year Budget update. Peter Downes of Outlook Economics says the final quarter of a financial year tends to be good in terms of government revenue, and a balanced budget for 2018-19 is possible. The government expects the Budget to return to surplus in 2019-20.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, OUTLOOK ECONOMICS, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Labor to have higher tax burden but bigger surpluses, says Bowen

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 10-Apr-19

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen will use his Budget reply speech on 10 April to argue that the federal government could not deliver on its tax cuts package while retaining a surplus over the next decade. He will state that the government’s projected surpluses in coming years are based on spending cuts elsewhere in the Budget starting in the 2023-24 financial year. Bowen will also note that tax revenue would be higher under a Labor government, but it would still be low compared to other OECD nations and some previous Coalition governments.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Per capita health spend is falling, says academic

Original article by Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 5-Apr-19

Analysis of the April 2019 Budget papers by the Centre for the Health Economy shows that the federal government’s per capita spending on healthcare will rise by just 1.5 per cent in 2019-20. This compares with growth of 6.7 per cent in 2016-17. Per capita spending will grow by just 0.4 per cent between 2019-20 and 2022-23 when population growth is taken into account. Centre for the Health Economy director Henry Cutler adds that ending the freeze on Medicare rebates may not result in lower co-payments for visiting a GP.

CORPORATES
MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY. CENTRE FOR THE HEALTH ECONOMY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH

Tax cuts will cost less because of productivity lift

Original article by Joanna Mather
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 5-Apr-19

John Humphreys of the Centre for Independent Studies says a key measure in the federal government’s April 2019 Budget will have limited net economic benefit. He argues that the proposed increase in the low and middle-income tax offset is unlikely to have much impact on productivity, output or economic growth. His analyses also suggests that the government’s tax cuts package will cost about $122bn over 10 years, compared with Treasury’s forecast of $158bn, as a lower marginal tax rate will encourage people to increase their taxable income.

CORPORATES
THE CENTRE FOR INDEPENDENT STUDIES LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND

Fifield demands more efficiency from Aunty

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 5 : 5-Apr-19

The ABC was given a modest funding increase in the April 2019 Budget, to allow the public broadcaster to increase its newsgathering capacity in regional and rural areas. Acting MD David Anderson has welcomed the increased funding for the Enhanced News initiative, but he has criticised the decision to retain a freeze on overall funding for the next three years. He says this will require some difficult decisions regarding staffing and services, but Communications Minister Mitch Fifield argues that the ABC has greater funding certainty than any other Australian media organisation.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC SECTOR UNION, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY