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Federal Budget

Accounting tricks behind the budget surplus

Government budgets are increasingly becoming more political documents. This has been particularly evident with the federal government’s pledge to return the budget to surplus. However, budget numbers are calculated pursuant to accounting principles and a number of accounting ‘tricks’ can be identified behind the $1.5 billion surplus number.

Moving of spending out of the 2012-13 budget year

Given its commitment to announcing a surplus, the government has had an incentive to move spending out of the 2012-13 budget year.

What is especially evident is the extent to which the government has made ‘policy decisions’ which have taken spending out of the 2012-13 year and brought it forward into the current financial year (ie year ending 30 June 2012).

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