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Budget surplus: unlikely
4BC Drive: The federal government has conceded it's unlikely to deliver on its promised budget surplus this financial year, in the wake of a big drop in tax revenues.
Figures released on Thursday showed financial year-to-date company tax payments were much lower than expected, reflecting falling commodity prices and continued weakness in the global economy.
Photo Gallery: What did they say about the 2012/2013 surplus
The Finance Department's monthly statement showed total cash receipts for 2012/13 so far totalled $111.6 billion at the end of October, down almost $4 billion on expectations.
"That's a really big hit to revenue, it's a huge whack to revenue," Treasurer Wayne Swan told reporters in Canberra.
The budget had been hit by a "sledgehammer", threatening Labor's promised $1.1 billion surplus, he said.
"Dramatically lower tax revenue now makes it unlikely that there will be a surplus in 2012/13," Mr Swan said.
Overall, the budget is so far running at a deficit of $12.3 billion, the new figures show. However, Mr Swan refused to speculate on how big it will ultimately be.
"It's too early," he said.
"We will make a thorough assessment in the new year, we'll methodically work through all the data as it emerges."
Mr Swan emphasised that the worsening in the government's budget bottom line was due to revenue falls rather than increased government spending.
He vowed to continue to exercise spending restraint, even in the face of more volatility and uncertainty in the global economy.
"I'm not loosening the purse strings," he said.
Mr Swan says about $160 billion has been ripped from the budget bottom line over the last five years, and much of that has been since 2010 when the government started talking about delivering a 2012/13 surplus.
"So through this whole period we have kept making responsible savings to fill what has been an emerging and growing revenue hole," he said.
"But things are a bit different now and that's the main point I want to make today.
"At this stage I don't think it would be responsible to cut harder or further in 2012/13 to fill a hole in the tax system if that puts jobs or growth at risk."
Mr Swan conceded the government was likely to take a big political hit over the broken promise but was unrepentant.
"If the worst thing people say is we got the economics right again but fell short on the politics, I would say, so be it," he said.
"At the end of the day I don't care about the political outcomes, I care about the economic outcomes."
Mr Swan said the resources industry was being hit by both lower prices for commodities and the high Australian dollar and the impact was "cascading throughout the economy".
The government now plans to reassess the state of the global economy in the new year "with a fresh set of eyes".
"There's a bit of a pathway through the global economy over the next couple of months," he added.
"It would be good to get some sight of that before we come back and have a much more informed and thorough analysis of the outlook."
I think Kernel the way the chinese are building up in Asia, that we cut the Americans a lot of slack and be gratefull that they will be there, they are our best allies and friends in this world along with NZ. Australia is the prize and Pig Iron Gillard and the loonies are on China's side.mick Saturday 22 December, 2012 - 12:26 AM
There is only one way that Doofus and Co can return to surplus, and that is they have to stop wasting so much money.
They could start by sacking everyone in the Dept of Climate Change because that will save millions of dollars. After that they could sack their Climate Change Commission Tim Flannery who has no degrees relating to climate science. They could follow that up by sacking the remainder of the Commissioners.
Another way of saving money is to reduce the renumeration of all Members of the House of Representatives as well as of their staff, and the Senate and their staff. The remuneration is way too high. I would also reduce the remuneration of the Commissioner of the Federal Police. He does not need that much in the way of a salary. How about we just stick all the pollies on NEWSTART allowance, untill they can prove they can run this bloody countryKernel fudpucker Friday 21 December, 2012 - 5:03 PM
Swan, Gillard and Co are graduates from the union school of finance. HSC union is a glowing example of well worn union practise, so much for going in to bat for the average worker. As Stalin knew - tell them what they want to hear and feed their ignorance and we, the selected few can live like kings.Kernel fudpucker Friday 21 December, 2012 - 3:53 PM
Thereâ??s one sure way to achieve a budget surplus without any pain: charge the Yanks for their base in Darwin, say a million dollars a day and twenty million per day for every-time they use one of our harbors, airfields and electronic installations.
Further, a special tax should be put on all prostitutes when they associate with Americans, call it a Cowboy Hospitality Tax, something like $5 a pump!
As well, MacDonalds should have a special charge on its tasteless, gut-rotting â??warmed for hoursâ?? fare for anyone with an American accent.
There, our surplus is guaranteed and pensioners will not have to eat pet food!Kernel fudpucker Friday 21 December, 2012 - 3:51 PM
World dept has been created as a mask to bring in new tax laws ,50% unemployment is required to control people ,before a tax ,,,? Every country that borrows can not repay as of interest on loan ?banks own every country on earth except IRAN and KOREA? There are no terriousts but bank control.inocent people caught up in media propergander,?country borrows from banks ,country fails because of high tax on people buisness close ,less money , bank collapses.,government bails out banks , bank loans more money to countrys , banks control money flows ,in end you loose your assets , ,job, bank proffits 4 times as much it gains interest on loans , it it reloans and country repays back interest it ows , with more money loans , the nation looses assets, people loose assets ,homes ,buisnesses, bank reposesses your assets ,,bank owns all buisnesses and every country , 12 familys own the world throu money loans?Joe Friday 21 December, 2012 - 1:25 PM
Kernel and Rich I could not agree with you more, and a Merry Christmas to you bothGayle Friday 21 December, 2012 - 12:16 PM