2015 Budget - easy to swallow or hard to digest?

Mon 1 June 2015


Some of Australia's leading economic minds have come together at the 2015 NATSEM/IGPA Budget Breakfast to give their interpretation of the 2015 Federal Budget and unanimously agreed it is shaping up better than last year.

The University of Canberra's Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA)'s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) gathered political and economic experts to dissect the recently announced Budget.

The panel included Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, former Assistant Treasurer Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Saul Eslake and the University of Canberra's professorial fellow Michelle Grattan and NATSEM's principal research fellow Ben Phillips.

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Mr Phillips said the presenters had all considered the impacts of the Federal Budget and provided interesting perspectives on the Federal Government's agenda.

"Among the issues discussed, were the new families' package and pension reforms, and how they affect Australian families," Mr Phillips said.

Senator Sinodinos highlighted the Government's focus on small business and consumer confidence.

He admitted there had been challenges in the 2014 Budget, but this year, the focus was firmly on improving workforce participation and building strength within Australia's small businesses.

Far from a party political debate, Dr Leigh commenced his presentation listing the aspects of the budget that he welcomed and supported in principle.

Among that list was a funding commitment to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, an investment in the Australian Bureau of Statistics for new IT and the small business instant asset write-off.

Economist Saul Eslake delved into some of the finer details of the Budget, calling into question some of the assumptions around forward projections of Australia's economic growth being set at 3.5 per cent for a five year period from 2017.

Mr Eslake was also critical of tax concessions for small business, questioning "why should one business of a certain size pay a different tax rate than another business of a differing size?"

Political commentator Michelle Grattan examined the political implications of the budget, noting the Government had received a relative bounce in polling since the budget was laid out.

She was dismissive of suggestions the Abbott Government would seek an early election on the back of the result, reflecting that a return to the polls is unlikely until at least early 2016.

The NATSEM/IGPA Budget Breakfast is an annual event held mid to late-May.



This post first appeared on the UC Monitor Online.

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