Australian Federal and State Budgets – An Overview
South Australian Government Sector Net Debt (as a Ratio of Gross State Product): 2000-01 to 2008-09 67
TASMANIAN GOVERNMENT BUDGETS
Two years after gaining office at the 1992 state election, Ray Groom’s ALP state government announced that, in its 1994-95 budget, it would embark on a 5-year financial strategy. As summarised by Kerry Carne, the strategy “included reducing general government net debt to not more than 10.5 per cent of Gross State Product by June 2000. This was to be achieved by applying the proceeds of asset sales and by limiting. . .deficits to $35 million.” In 1994 the Groom government sold off the Tasmanian Government Insurance Office. This fiscal stance was continued under Tony Rundle’s succeeding Liberal party state government (1996-98).68
Following its win in the 1998 state election, Jim Bacon’s ALP state government introduced a new fiscal strategy in its 1998-99 state budget. The strategy focused on reducing total state government net debt to below 20 per cent by financial year 2003-04 (achieving this aim by the sale of major assets) and achieving a budget surplus by 1999-2000. In its budget of 1999-2000, the Bacon government specified that, by 2003-04, it would achieve a general government surplus of not less than 2.5 per cent of general government revenue. In its 2002-03 budget, the Bacon government declared an aim of reducing general government sector net debt to below $450 million by mid-2005.69 Paul Lennon took over as premier in 2004 (after Jim Bacon’s death) and both he, and David Bartlett (who succeeded Lennon in 2008, following the latter’s resignation) were able both to maintain the Tasmanian budget in surplus and preserve the general government sector in a position of negative net debt, as indicated in the following graphs and table:
Government of South Australia, Final Budget Outcome: 2008-09, n.65, p.D.1.
Carne, n.21, pp.139-140.
Carne, n.21, p.140, 141.