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Australian Federal and State Budgets – An Overview

9

Federal Government debt (as mentioned above) was considerably reduced during the period of the Howard government. Because of the pressures of the global financial crisis, the Rudd government (at least in its second year in office) has been less focused on debt reduction, as shown in the following graph and table:

Australian Government General Government Sector Net Debt: 2000-01 to 2009-1041

billions of dollars

-10.0

2000-

2001-

2002-

2003-

2004-

2005-

2006-

2007-

2008-

-20.0

01

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0

  • -

    30.0

  • -

    40.0

  • -

    50.0

2007-08

-4%

2008-09

-0.4%

Australian Government General Government Sector Net Debt (as a Ratio of Gross Domestic Product): 2007-08 to 2008-9 42

4

NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT BUDGETS

After gaining office at the 1988 state election, Nick Greiner’s Liberal Party-National Party government adopted a five-year financial strategy which had a major aim of balancing the budget to restrain debt. During the first half of the 1990s, Greiner also undertook a major sell-off of government owned enterprises: the Government Insurance Office (in 1991) and the State Bank of NSW (in 1994).43 Seven years later, Bob Carr’s newly elected ALP government obtained passage of the General Government Debt Elimination Act 1995. The focus of the legislation was on producing a budget surplus and reducing the state’s debt.44 As Marc Robinson has pointed out, “The NSW government. . .publicly indicated. . .its intention to rely upon

41

Commonwealth Government, Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2009-10, n.36, p.283. As a result of adopting a fiscal stimulus program, the number of Commonwealth government bonds on issue has risen to $116.4 billion in 2010. See website of the Australia Office of Financial Management (www.aofm.gov.au).

42

Commonwealth Government, Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2009-10, n.36, p.283.

43

Carne, n.21, p.109.

44

Carne, n. 21 pp.111,113.

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