In 2014–15, we have forecast our Headline Net Operating Balance—budget bottom line— to be $332.8 million in deficit. Our current projections see these deficits falling through 2015–16, with the budget returning to balance in 2016–17 and surplus in 2017–18.
We have a plan to bring the budget back to balance by investing in economic growth; prudently managing ACT taxpayers dollars, including targeted spending and smart savings; and continuing our tax reform program.
General Government Sector Net Operating Balance
Note: The Net Operating Balance is presented on an Australian Accounting Standards (AAS) basis up until 2005-06. From 2006-07, the Net Operating Balance is presented on a Headline basis, the ACT's key fiscal indicator. The Headline Net Operating Balance is not available prior to 2006-07.
Our debt level will increase as we borrow to invest in transformational and productive infrastructure. But it will remain at an affordable level that is among the lowest of all Australian states and territories. And by returning our budget to balance from 2016–17, and divesting ourselves of ageing assets, we have a plan to bring down debt.
What this means is that we are in a sound position to invest in our economy and in our vision for Canberra at a time when investment is most needed.