Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers announces $22.1b budget surplus

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has announced Australia’s first surplus in 15 years as the final budget outcome figures for the last year show a surplus of over $22 billion.

It’s the first Commonwealth surplus since the 2007-08 budget, which Liberal Peter Costello handed down in the months before Labor won power in late 2007. It is also Labor’s first surplus in over 30 years.

That major improvement is an outcome of strong commodity prices, and higher than expected income and company tax revenue while the government said the surplus is also down to responsible economic management.

Chalmers said the government: “delivered this surplus at the same time as providing billions of dollars in cost-of-living relief and making vital investments in the long-term growth of our economy”.

Chalmers stressed that the surplus isn’t an “end in itself” but a foundation for investing in the future.

“This surplus is a consequence of spending restraint, banking upward revisions in revenue and also finding substantial savings in the budget,” Chalmers explained.

“Now this is not the first time that a government has received a substantial improvement in revenue.

“But what is different this time, is instead of spending most of that, which our predecessors did, we have banked almost all of it and that has made the difference.”

It is estimated that the government will also return 95 per cent of the upward tax revisions in 2022-23 to the budget.