In the MYEFO release by Treasurer Scott Morrison in December last year, the government confirmed that the budget was on track to return to balance in 2020-21, with the underlying cash balance improving by $9.3 billion since the 2017-18 federal budget.
Mr Morrison also pointed out that the net operating balance was expected to improve from a deficit of $18.2 billion in 2017-18 to a surplus of $6.8 billion in 2019-20 and further building to a surplus of $20.9 billion in 2020-21.
Crowe Horwath senior partner Mary O'Driscoll believes the positive forecast should place the onus on the government to make good on its word to invest in small business and regional areas.
“The government has discussed endlessly their desire to invest in the future of regional Australia and I think that could have been better reflected in the most recent federal budget,” said Ms O’Driscoll.
“I wouldn't say it was a ‘lowlight’ overall, however, the budget was very middle of the road, predictable, safe.
“While the content and goals for this financial year did see some positives for small businesses nationally including the extension of small business asset write-off being extended, more can be done for regional small businesses to help spur innovation,” she added.
“As we saw in the recent MYEFO announcement, we are on track to pay down our debt faster and better manage our deficit. It might be time to look at greater investment in regional Australia.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.