The announcement of a $57 billion deficit by the Federal Government on Tuesday did not surprise Associate Professor Mark Crosby; but the decisions to delay policies such as maternity leave and a pension increase have.
“It seems strange that the Government has decided to delay certain policies because if it’s a good idea why not start now?” he says.
“The effect of delaying these policy delays will have a minimal effect on revenue and taxes, as while some changes will cost the government, some are revenue raising.”
Associate Professor Crosby also said claims from the Liberals that they had built up a large surplus from which Labor are now spending is not accurate.
“While some of the reforms introduced by the Liberals – such as the GST – were good from an economist’s perspective, from 2002 onwards they simply got lucky. There was a lot of money coming in and they didn’t really use it as well as they could have,” he says.
“The challenge for the Labour party now is that they are in office during much more difficult times and will be forced to make difficult decisions.”
Despite this, Professor Crosby says Australia is starting from a very strong position – even with such a large deficit - when compared to most global economies.
Associate Professor Mark Crosby is a lecturer in Economics at the Melbourne Business School.