The Queensland State Budget is out and it contains a clear analysis of the huge budgetary impact of natural disasters, particularly:
- the large expenditure associated with disasters (e.g. around $2.5 billion to deal with ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald’s impacts); and
- the odd budgetary effects of the mismatch between the timing of Queensland’s expenditures on disaster recovery and the receipt of the Commonwealth’s contributions.
The Treasury has provided some interested figures showing what the Budget would look like if it were adjusted to exclude the impact of natural disasters, which I have presented in the chart below:
So we have much larger budget deficits due to the disasters in 2012-13 and 2013-14, but, oddly, the disasters mean the budget balance in 2014-15 and 2015-16 is better than it otherwise would have been, due to Queensland finally receiving delayed payments from the Commonwealth. Indeed, the Budget reports the projected underlying budget balance is actually a small deficit of $18 million in 2015-16 (see Table 1.5 on p. 10 of the Budget Strategy and Outlook), rather than a surplus of $1.065 billion.