The ACT Government has used the Territory’s balance sheet to support local jobs and the economy through tough economic times in recent years.
This budget strategy has worked. Our economy has kept growing and unemployment has remained low despite the global financial crisis and significant Commonwealth job cuts. At the same time this Government has continued to deliver high quality services, invest in the renewal and growth of the city and fix the Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos problem for good.
With the economy strengthening, we are continuing our steady path back to budget balance. We have shrunk the deficit from $497 million in 2014 to just $73.9 million in 2016-17, and remain on track to return to balance in 2018-19 – just like we outlined before the 2016 election.
The Government’s fiscal strategy was clearly endorsed by the Canberra community at that election. Canberrans recognise the value of investing to renew our city, including our hospitals, schools, infrastructure and suburbs. They know that a balanced budget is not an end in itself, but a means to strengthen our capacity to respond to future shocks and protect economic growth.
The ACT remains only one of three states or territories to hold a AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, which is further endorsement of our clear fiscal plan for the Territory.
Net debt remains at prudent levels that are consistent with other AAA rated jurisdictions while facilitating the investments we are making in renewing Canberra’s hospitals, schools and transport assets.
Budget forecasts ($ million)
Headline Net Operating Balance