Deficit falls below 2 per cent of GDP


The responsible budget management of the Turnbull Government has brought the 2016-17 Final Budget Outcome (FBO) in at $4.4 billion better than the underlying cash balance forecast in the 2017-18 Budget.

At $33.2 billion, the underlying cash deficit is 1.9 per cent of gross domestic product, the first time in four years it has fallen below 2 per cent of GDP. The improvement in the bottom line was driven by $4.1 billion in higher total receipts than expected at the time of the 2017-18 Budget, as well as an improvement of $1.2 billion from payments being lower than expected.

For the second year in a row government payments were below their initial forecast, $4.3 billion lower than the 2013-14 Budget estimate.

In net operating terms, the FBO for 2016-17 improved by $6.6 billion compared with the net operating deficit estimated at the time of the 2017-18 Budget, with revenue $3.6 billion higher and expenses $3.0 billion lower than expected at the time of the 2017-18 Budget.

Real GDP grew by 1.9 per cent in 2016‑17, slightly stronger than the 1¾ per cent growth forecast in the 2017‑18 Budget. Nominal GDP grew by 6.0 per cent, consistent with the 2017-18 Budget forecast, driven by a strong rise in Australia’s terms of trade.

Almost 250,000 jobs were created over 2016‑17 resulting in employment growing by 1.9 per cent through the year to the June quarter 2017, which was stronger than the 2017-18 Budget forecast of 1 per cent.

Australian Government general government sector net debt was $322.3 billion (18.4 per cent of GDP), which was $2.8 billion better than estimated at the time of the 2017-18 Budget.

The Final Budget Outcome 2016-17 can be found at