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Australian govt forecasts first budget surplus in 15 yrs

Canberra, May 9 (IANS) Australia’s Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Tuesday confirmed that the federal budget for 2023-24 will feature an expected first surplus in over a decade.

Ahead of handing down the budget later at night, Chalmers revealed it would forecast a small surplus of approximately A$4 billion ($2 billion), reports Xinhua news agency.

If realised, it marks the first time the balance has been in surplus in 15 years and a turnaround from previous projections.

In March 2022, the former government forecast a budget deficit of A$78 billion for 2022-23, which was then revised down to A$36.9 billion by Chalmers in October.

Compared to the figures, Chalmers said the budget position had improved by A$143 billionover the four years to 2025-26.

High commodity prices, low unemployment and a boost in migration to Australia are regarded as reasons for the improvement.

“In dollar terms, it will show the biggest budget turnaround on record as a consequence of our responsible economic management,” Chalmers said on Tuesday morning.

“We are now forecasting a surplus this year, smaller deficits after that, and less debt throughout the budget.”

Despite the upswing, the budget is still expected to return to deficit as the government plans with a spending program aimed at relieving cost-of-living pressures for Australians amid inflation challenge.

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