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Australian Budget released — Will it live up to expectations?

UPDATE: The bottom line. Meh.People are calling it “brutal”, and saying it’s a slash and burn budget, but really government spending will only shrunk by 0.5% of GDP.

[The Guardian] “The government is cutting overall spending, but relatively slowly – from 25.3% of GDP to 24.8% next year, 24.7% in 2016-17 and rising to 24.8% again in 2017-18. By comparison Peter Costello’s first budget was much more savage, cutting government spending from 25.1% to 23.9% of GDP.”

The Australian 2014/15 Budget has just been released. It’s the first budget of the Abbott government.  (Catallaxy has the transcript of the speech). Given election cycles there will probably not be a better opportunity to move towards a smaller, less burdensome government. Are the cuts enough? [UPDATE: No].

How much unnecessary tithing is there to the carbon monster?

There are some good signs: 16,500 public service jobs will be cut. And “70 government agencies will be scrapped or merged” including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Depressingly, while this is useful, it’s not much. There are apparently so many government agencies no one can figure out the exact number. There are estimates it’s close to 1000.

UPDATE: From News.com “you won’t believe what they’re slashing”  — Science!

The CSIRO, which invented WiFi, Aeroguard and extended wear contact lenses, will be slashed the most, losing $111.4 million over the next four years. A staggering amount of money.

This hardly a “slashing” cut given that the CSIRO budget is $1.2b billion a year, and these cuts are spread over 4 years. If CSIRO trims some admin fat, the scientists might not even notice…

The ARENA chop is worth “$1.3 billion from 2017-18”. (Shame we have to pay out until then).

UPDATE: ABC and SBS budgets will face tiny cuts–  “NATIONAL broadcasters ABC and SBS will lose $43.5 million in funding over four years. ” Before the election the Coalition should never have said they would not cut ABC funding (What exactly were the words?). It works out to be less than $10m a year in cuts shared between a $1b budget for the ABC and whatever the SBS budget is. It’s practically nothing. Not worth the pain and cries of people pointing back at their election statements. Disappointing. If they did promise not to cut, they shouldn’t have done it.

The Australian’s latest news link has many stories.

Will the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation go? [Post note: No –thats a matter for legislation, not for mere budgeting.]

Please add your thoughts here…


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