Australian government debt
- Throughout this article, the unqualified term "dollar" and the $ symbol refer to the Australian dollar.
The Australian government debt is the amount owed by the Australian federal government. The Australian Office of Financial Management, which is part of the Treasury Portfolio, is the agency which manages the government debt and does all the borrowing on behalf of the Australian government.
As of 30 September 2013, the gross Australian government debt was A$280,264 million. Australian law imposes a debt ceiling on how much the Australian government can borrow. Treasurer Joe Hockey in the Abbott Government since 19 September 2013 requested Parliament's approval in November 2013 to an increase in the debt limit from $300 billion to $500 billion, saying that the limit will be exhausted by mid-December 2013. The debt ceiling was created in 2007 for itself by the Rudd Government and set at $75 billion. It was increased in 2009 to $200 billion, $250 billion in 2011 and $300 billion in May 2012. The opposition has approved an increase of the ceiling to $400 billion, but the government insists on an increase to $500 billion. Some economists have argued that there is no need for a ceiling at all.
Australian government debt consists of Commonwealth Government Securities (CGS)—treasury bonds, treasury indexed bonds, treasury notes and Aussie infrastructure bonds—the combined value of which is limited by s.5 of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911.
Latest budget forecast
|Date (30 June)||Gross Debt ($ millions)|
|Source: Reserve Bank of Australia|
In May 2012, Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan released the 2011–12 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO). In 2011–12, the Australian Government general government sector recorded an underlying cash deficit of $43.7 billion (3.0% of GDP). The fiscal balance was in deficit by $44.5 billion (3.0% of GDP).
Australian Government general government sector net debt was $164 billion (11.133% of GDP), which was $16.7 billion higher than estimated at the time of the 2012 Australian federal budget. The change was primarily driven by the higher‑than‑expected market value of Commonwealth Government Securities (CGS), owing to lower than expected yields. Australian Government general government sector net financial worth was -$358.3 billion at the end of 2011‑12. Net worth was $247.2 billion at the end of 2011–12.
Total Australian Government revenue was $338.1 billion in 2011–12, $1.7 billion higher than estimated in the 2012–13 Budget. Accrual taxation revenue was $316.8 billion in 2011–12, $325 million above the estimate in the 2012–13 Budget, which is in line with the variation in cash receipts.
Total non-tax revenue was $21.3 billion in 2011–12, $1.4 billion higher than estimated in the 2012–13 Budget. Non-tax receipts (excluding Future Fund earnings) were $17.3 billion, in line with estimates in the Budget. The largest component of the difference in outcomes between non-tax revenue and non-tax receipts (excluding Future Fund earnings) is the change in the accounting recognition of dividends from:
The Reserve Bank of Australia, a $500 million dividend has been recognised in 2011–12 instead of 2012–13, based on advice from the Australian National Audit Office; and The Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation, reflecting a change to the timing of accrual revenue at Budget, with the full amount of $400 million being recorded in 2011–12 instead of over the forward estimates.
In October 2012, Justin Fabo, ANZ's senior economist, said there was little good reason why the government should not take advantage of historically low yields on government securities to fill Australia's infrastructure gap. In recent years Australian government debt has seen an increase in demand as faith is lost in European and US government debt. Reserve managers see Australia as a safe haven for investment.
The current ratio of Australian government debt to gross domestic product (GDP) is compared favourably to the average ratio for developed countries of 90%. The very low levels of debt have permitted flexibility on behalf of the Australian federal government to use expansionary fiscal policy at their discretion to counter the effects of the financial crisis of 2007–2008.
- Australian federal budget
- Government budget
- List of sovereign states by public debt
- Taxation in Australia
- Parliamentary Library Government debt
- "Role and Function". Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- The Age, 14 November 2013.
- The Age, 24 October 2013 - Debt ceiling - all because of West Wing?
- Canberra Times
- Michael Janda (21 December 2013). "Australian debt still AAA despite surplus miss". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911, s.5
- "Commonwealth Government Securities On Issue (E10)". Statistical Tables. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- Final Budget Outcome: Fiscal strategy and outlook. Australian Government. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Final Budget Outcome: Australian Government Budget Outcome. Australian Government. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Adam Creighton (11 October 2012). "Debt phobia 'hobbling chance to borrow and build'". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Layton, Allan; Tim Robinson, Irvin B. Tucker (2011). Economics for Today (Asia Pacific ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 455. ISBN 0170190854. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Statistics about bonds in Australia.|
- Australian Office of Financial Management
- Katrina Di Marco, Mitchell Pirie and Wilson Au-Yeung: A history of public debt in Australia, Treasury, Commonwealth of Australia. (ca. 2011).