Labor releases discussion paper on Better Budgeting
03 Feb 2017
Today I’m releasing a discussion paper which seeks input from experts on ways to improve how the Commonwealth Budget is put together and presented to Australians.
This initiative is based on a belief that better, more transparent, more forward-looking budgeting will lead to better, more transparent and forward-looking policy decisions.
It will also help elevate the national conversation about Australia’s fiscal position into the future and avoid some of the trickery that has characterised recent budgets.
Managing the Commonwealth Budget is a complex task with an uncomplicated objective – to ensure Australians get value from the taxes they pay and that the nation invests in people, their abilities and aspirations, and the future.
Our duty is not just to improve the bottom line, but to improve lives. That means developing budgets that underpin the right kind of economic growth which is inclusive, which creates jobs and mitigates inequality and social immobility.
Some of the issues raised in the discussion paper are technical and not front-of-mind for most Australians, but they are important issues nonetheless, because they go to the best use of their taxpayer dollars.
The Better Budgeting paper seeks input on alternative ways to budget for capital versus recurrent spending; how to more accurately paint a longer-term picture; how to increase the transparency of key issues and assumptions; and more.
It poses a range of questions like:
- What improvements could be made to enhance the public focus on the medium-term pressures and enhance policy decisions?
- What other improvements could be made to make the Budget papers clearer, simpler and more transparent about their impact?
- Are there reporting improvements that can be implemented that will increase the accountability of agencies against program objectives and outcomes?
We have deliberately avoided proposing specific ways forward and instead open up a public conversation with leading academics, accountants, economists and stakeholder groups.
Submissions close at the end of March and there will be ongoing consultation beyond that including a further roundtable towards the middle of the year.
The full discussion paper is attached and can also be downloaded at www.jimchalmers.org/betterbudgeting