Treasurer Jim Chalmers rules out further cost-of-living relief for struggling Australians even though the Albanian government is on track to hit a $20bn federal budget surplus
- Australia’s books are likely to show a $20bn surplus
- Treasurer Jim Chalmers rules out more relief
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has been adamant not to dole out more cost-of-living relief as the government is on track to run an extraordinary budget surplus.
Australia’s books are likely to show a $20bn surplus for the latest fiscal year thanks to a strong labor market and high commodity prices for key exports.
The underlying cash balance for the year through May was $19 billion, above the $4.2 billion surplus for 2022/23 noted in the federal budget.
“The current expectation of officials is that the surplus for 2022-23 will be around $20 billion or more, probably just north of that figure,” Dr. Chalmers said Monday.
He explained that the figure would materialize in the coming weeks and that it would be the first budget surplus in 15 years.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers (pictured) ruled out further cost-of-living relief as the government worked to rein in inflation.
As millions of Australians struggle with cost of living pressures, Dr Chalmers was asked if more relief was on the way.
He He said the government managed to provide measures of the cost of living while increasing productivity “so that we can lay the foundation for future growth as well.”
But he ruled out further relief, saying the gains would accumulate as the government works to rein in inflation.
‘We are not currently working on a new cost of living relief package. We are focused on implementing the billions of dollars in cost of living relief that we have already announced,” said Dr. Chalmers.
‘What allows for a much better budget position is that it gives you flexibility down the road, in future budgets.’
“If you want to do more on the cost of living front, give yourself the opportunity to do that and build a buffer right now.”
The treasurer stressed that while the budget was ‘in much better shape in the short term’, there had to be serious consideration to ‘intensify the pressures in the longer term’.
“We weigh all of that, but the approach we’ve taken is textbook fiscal policy, targeted relief for the people, but not at the expense of fixing the budget,” he said.
Dr. Chalmers added that while inflation was coming down, it was still too high.
“We would like to see it moderate faster,” he said.
The underlying cash balance for the year to May was $19 billion, above the $4.2 billion surplus for 2022/23 marked in the federal budget (file image)
The treasurer stressed that while the budget was “in much better shape in the short term”, there had to be serious consideration to “intensify the pressures in the longer term”.
The treasurer made the announcement while announcing the next head of the Productivity Commission, saying that strong economic foundations come from “the right institutions and the right leadership from those institutions.”
The cabinet agreed to introduce Chris Barrett, a former ambassador to the OECD and chief of staff to Labor treasurer Wayne Swan.
The Albanian government has implemented cost of living measures totaling $14.6 billion over four years that include mass billing incentives, energy bill relief and an increase in JobSeeker payments.
The Treasury and Reserve Bank have claimed that these measures were deflationary, mainly because the energy relief actually lowered inflation by 0.75 percent in 2023-24.
Dr Chalmers revealed earlier this month while delivering a speech at Sambell Oration in Melbourne that the government was planning to develop a community wellbeing framework.
The framework will feature 50 measurable indicators such as health and work-life balance tor help the government assess the impact of cost of living pressures.
“Responsible economic management and compassion are complementary, not at odds,” he said at the event.
Ours is a government of hard heads and warm hearts.