Australian Federal and State Budgets – An Overview
Victorian Government Sector Net Debt (as a Ratio of Gross State Product): 2000 to 2009 55
QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT BUDGETS
In 1990, Wayne Goss’s newly elected ALP government adopted a fiscal strategy consisting of three objectives: (a) fully funding long-term liabilities (such as superannuation and workers’ compensation); (b) restraining borrowing - whereby non-revenue generating assets (such as schools and hospitals) were funded from recurrent revenues and borrowing was restricted to assets capable of generating revenue at least equal to the interest charges applicable to the debt; and (c) restraining revenue – entailing a commitment neither to introduce new taxes, nor to increase charges and fees, on average at a rate exceeding inflation.56 By 1994, according to Marc Robinson, Goss laid claim to reducing total state net debt (general government sector debt plus the debts of government owned enterprises) from $4.2 billion (in 1990) to zero.57 Rob Borbidge’s National Party state government (elected in 1996) maintained the Goss government’s fiscal stance. 58
After gaining office at the 1998 election, Peter Beattie’s ALP state government proceeded to amend the state’s Financial Administration and Audit Act 1977 by inserting amendments requiring the state government to prepare a Charter of Social and Fiscal Responsibility. The first charter, produced in 1999, focused on the principal objective of maintaining an overall budget surplus.59 During the boom that followed, between 2004 and 2007, the Beattie government was indeed able to maintain a budget surplus and move the general government sector into a position of negative net debt. Anna Bligh’s elevation as Queensland Premier coincided with
Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, Financial Report: 2008-09, p.29: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian National Accounts: State Accounts 2008-09, Catalogue No.5220.0, p.14.
Carne, n.21, pp.122-123
Marc Robinson, “Queensland Public Finance in the 1990s” in Economic Analysis and Policy, vol.26, no.1, March 1996, p.82.
Carne, n.21, p.123.
Carne, n.21, pp.125-126.