World News – UA – WA posts budget surplus, Treasury predicts border will fall by June


One-off iron ore royalties have helped Western Australia forecast a budget surplus of $ 1.2 billion this fiscal year, despite the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Treasury predicting that the state’s hard border will be closed between April and June next year

Surpluses will continue to exceed $ 1 billion for three of the four years of the forecast budget, rising to $ 363 million in 2021/22 and rebounding to nearly $ 15 billion by 2023/24

This year’s budget windfall follows an unexpected $ 7 billion surplus for fiscal year 2019-2020 that top Liberals, including Finance Minister Matthias Cormann, called unacceptable

Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the Treasury based its modeling on the hard state border that would fall in the June quarter of next year, although he stressed that was not government policy and that any decision would be based solely on health advice

A record $ 27 billion in infrastructure spending is the centerpiece of the budget, which aims to keep the state’s economy on the move amid and beyond the pandemic through the creation of jobs

Households are expected to be better off by $ 663 this year, thanks to a one-time rebate of $ 600 on the electricity bill and the freeze on household fees and charges which, at a cost of $ 1 billion, is the « largest measure ever recorded for households, » M said McGowan

Other states and the Commonwealth have plunged headlong into deficit as they attempt to shield their economies from the brunt of the pandemic, but WA has categorically defied this trend, writes political journalist of State Jacob Kagi

A total of 800 new police officers will be deployed over the next four years at a cost of $ 314 million, in addition to the 150 new police stations announced earlier in the year

Mental health spending to increase by $ 306 million over four years, bringing spending to over $ 1 billion per year for the first time

While the state’s finances are in better shape than expected at the start of the pandemic, the surplus has shrunk by $ 6 billion since the last forecast, due to an increase in spending of nearly $ 5 billion dollars and declining income

The public debt will reach more than 39 billion dollars this fiscal year and will peak in the years to come to almost 43 billion dollars, against 35 billion dollars

Iron ore royalties continue to support the state’s bottom line and are expected to generate $ 7 billion this fiscal year alone

Based on an iron ore rate of US $ 966 per tonne, well below current levels

Overall, the state’s economy is expected to grow 125% this fiscal year, defying global trends and grim recession forecasts anticipated in April

M Wyatt said business and consumer confidence rebounded strongly, with retail growing faster in August than in the past seven years

The unemployment rate is expected to peak at 8% this fiscal year, before gradually declining to 6% until 2023/2024

Treasury figures revealed that if a second wave of COVID-19 were to occur, resulting in a six-week lockdown, it would wipe $ 5 billion out of the national economy and cut more jobs from 30,000

M Wyatt said a potential second wave would have a huge impact on the economy

« This will slow down the state’s ability to implement its infrastructure plan and it will also slow the ability of the private sector to do the same

The budget brought bad news for the thousands of state officials, who face a two-year extension of the state’s strict salary policy

This means the $ 1,000 salary cap will be extended for two more years, with CPI increases applying beyond that

M Wyatt admitted that a tight pay policy might not be appreciated, but said: « When you’re in the public sector you have a secure job and it’s definitely worth its weight in gold »

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and BBC World Service which is copyrighted and may not be reproduced

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Western Australia, Mark McGowan, Ben Wyatt, Western Australia, government budget

Global news – UA – WA posts budget surplus, Treasury predicts border will fall ‘here June


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