This year’s Budget is the first budget of the Coalition Government.
The measures the Government has announced in the Budget represent a significant reprioritisation of resources and tightening of fiscal policy over the medium term. Unsurprisingly, given the nature and breadth of the proposed changes, the Budget has sparked a vigorous public debate about the need for change, the distributional effects of the Budget proposals, and the appropriateness of individual measures.
The Parliament is rightly the focal point of this debate. It is through the parliamentary debate that many voices and views will be heard and considered. The Parliamentary Library is uniquely placed to help inform this debate, not only through the Budget Review but also through its ongoing role of supporting the work of Parliament by providing information, analysis and advice to senators and members and parliamentary committees.
The Parliamentary Library has produced its annual Budget Review to assist parliamentarians in considering the key issues posed by the 2014–15 Budget. The first section deals with the Budget as a whole: an overview provides a summary of the headline numbers, the economic context, the Government’s fiscal strategy and broader policy agenda, and how the fiscal outlook has changed since the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO); the next two articles look at the total impact of the Budget and reactions to it. The Budget briefs section comprises articles which provide background information and analysis of the key measures proposed in this year’s Budget and cover a wide range of areas across all portfolios.
As with previous Budget Reviews, this year’s has been prepared under time pressures with a view to making it available to parliamentarians as soon as possible. While care has been taken to ensure that the articles are accurate and balanced, they are based on information that was publicly available at the time of preparation. The articles do not intend to make value judgements about the relative importance of different measures or provide a comprehensive assessment of the Budget.
Parliamentarians are invited to raise points requiring amplification or clarification directly with the research specialist concerned, and general comments on papers are welcome. Any other feedback should be forwarded to me.
Dr Dianne Heriot
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