Government | Regulation

Sustainable budgets: underwriting Australia’s social compact

In 2019, CEDA released a research report that outlines priorities to deliver ongoing Federal Budget surpluses and debt reduction.

“We face significant long-term demographic, economic and technological challenges, while global economic growth is slowing and there is pressure on households from sluggish income growth, high household debt and falling house prices. Our research also shows that expenditure discipline following an election is rare." 

- Melinda Cilento, CEDA Chief Executive Officer

Why does the federal budget matter to Australia's social compact?

The federal budget is a key component of connecting people to the benefits of Australia’s economic progress. It does this through a tax system that delivers the right incentives for a modern workforce and by the delivery of critical services important to the wellbeing of individuals and the community, such as health, education and infrastructure.

As we face considerable uncertainties, very significant demographic, economic and technological challenges and increasing community expectations, achieving long-term budget sustainability underpinned by a strong tax base will be central to ensuring we have the services and infrastructure we need and want as a progressive society.

Budget repair continues to be the right priority for Australia, especially in an election year. While there have been welcome improvements in the federal budget recently, there are real risks to maintaining a surplus in coming years and paying down debt. The federal government’s forthcoming budget is set to be released on 2 April 2019. 

CEDA budget report - Sustainable budgets: underwriting Australia's social compact

CEDA's budget report has identified options that can help deliver long term equitable and sustainable federal budgets while also increasing transparency, and therefore community trust, in the federal budget process.

CEDA's budget report explores:

  • Why budget repair still matters;
  • Australia's long-term budget position;
  • Where spending can be constrained or better targeted; and 
  • Ways to rebalance the tax burden to achieve long-term budget balance and maintain Australia’s social compact. This includes reining in tax concessions to begin to broaden Australia’s tax base.

In 2016, CEDA published Deficit to balance: Budget repair options , outlining a series of measures that could return the federal budget to surplus in 2018-19. In this report, CEDA provides an update of these measures.

Budget research release events

Sustainable budgets: underwriting Australia's social compact was launched on 8 March 2019 with events following across the country:

Brisbane | 12 March 2019
Discussion highlights: Making conscious decisions now to strengthen the budget will avoid
Melbourne | 19 March 2019
Perth | 21 March 2019
Sydney  | 29 March 2019

Watch: CEDA Chief Economist, Jarrod Ball presents report insights