Qld budget surplus delay not a big deal, but reinforces need to consider Energex & Ergon sell off

There won’t be much to report after the release of the Queensland Budget later today as it appears much of the big news has already been released, including a delay in achieving the Budget surplus, originally forecast for 2014-15 and now not expected until at least 2015-16 (see No cash to splash in Nicholls’ Budget).  In an interview on Friday, the second part of which aired this morning, Steve Austin from 612 ABC Brisbane asked me about whether we should worry about the delay in achieving the surplus. While I’m waiting for the link to the interview to come up, I recall making the following points:

  • it’s difficult for governments to give iron-clad commitments to surpluses in particular years (and they will be reluctant to in the future), because so much depends on prevailing economic conditions (e.g. GDP growth, coal price, etc), and
  • we really need to reform the GST to give State Governments a larger guaranteed and more predictable revenue source, as I’ve previously observed (Government has to rely on inefficient taxes to fix budget – GST reform needed).

I would also add that the delay in achieving a Budget surplus reinforces the need to consider selling off Energex and Ergon, so we can pay down our debt quicker, get our AAA rating back, and reduce our borrowing costs, as I’ve previously commented:

Commission of Audit report an impressive guide to reform of Qld Government

Govt should embrace Costello Commission of Audit privatisation recommendations

Link to my interview on Commission of Audit on ABC Brisbane radio this morning

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1 Response to Qld budget surplus delay not a big deal, but reinforces need to consider Energex & Ergon sell off

  1. Robyn says:

    Selling off Energex and Ergon may make economic sense, but no political sense – given what happened to Bligh. Newman will have to seek a mandate after the next state election. Does he have the skill successfully to sell it to the public? This is after all a state in which the government once owned butchers’ shops, and the Nationals still have a strong agrarian socialist tendencies.

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