The release of the Government Mid year Financial Projections Statement (or Mid year Review), reflects the WA Government’s ongoing focus to repair the State’s finances.
With responsible financial management, Western Australia remains on track to return to a Budget surplus in 2020-21.
Consistent with expectations in the 2017-18 State Budget, the operating outlook is expected to improve over the forward estimates, with declining deficits in 2018 19 and 2019 20 before a return to an operating surplus of $926 million in 2020 21.
The general government operating deficit for 2017 18 is now forecast to be $2.6 billion. This $265 million increase reflects lower than expected taxation revenue, a delay in Commonwealth grant revenue for road projects, and lower royalty income.
The Mid-year Review reflects the WA Government’s focus on implementing Budget repair measures and containing expenditure growth. Across the forward estimates period, general government expenditure is projected to increase by an average of just 2.2 per cent per annum (well below the average 6.7 per cent for the decade to 2016 17), with expenses in 2017-18 unchanged since the Budget at $30.8 billion.
Total public sector net debt is now forecast to be $42.8 billion by June 30, 2021, down $854 million since the Budget. This largely reflects the flow on impact of a lower net debt outcome at June 30, 2017 ($536 million) and the impact of the sale of Westralia Square by the Insurance Commission of Western Australia ($298 million).
The Western Australian economy continues to show signs of recovery, with the labour market being stronger than expected since the Budget, coinciding with a lift in business confidence and advertised job vacancies. The unemployment rate has been lowered to 5.75 per cent from six per cent (2017-18 Budget).
Source: WA Government