Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Emergency Budget Repair Kit

Alexander Philipatos, Jennifer Buckingham, Jeremy Sammut, Robert Carling, Simon Cowan, Trisha Jha
21 November 2013 | T30.05
Emergency Budget Repair Kit

The new Abbott government should address its self-identified budget emergency by cutting wasteful spending now. Reducing government will also help prepare Australia for its future fiscal challenges. There are some simple steps that can move the budget back to surplus in the short term.

The government should refocus its spending away from expensive and ineffective assistance to the middle-class and towards those in need. By refocusing family tax assistance, the government can save nearly $6 billion a year. A further $8 billion could be saved by ending industry assistance programs other than a select few aimed at research and development. Additional savings can be found by addressing inconsistencies in indexation of payments.

Another important step is to address the duplication of government departments at a state and federal level. By simply abolishing two of those departments (the federal departments of agriculture and education), the government could save up to $1.3 billion.

Further savings can be found in health care by ending poorly targeted or ineffective programs such as GP management plans and rebates under the Better Access to Mental Health Services scheme. A small copayment on Medicare services could save more than $1.4 billion.

Simon Cowan is a Research Fellow in the Economics Program and Program Director of TARGET30.
Dr Jeremy Sammut is a Research Fellow in the Social Foundations Program.
Jennifer Buckingham is Research Fellow in the Social Foundations Program.
Robert Carling is a Senior Fellow in the Economics Program.
Trisha Jha is a Policy Analyst in the Social Foundations Program.
Alexander Philipatos is a Policy Analyst in the Economics Program.


Latest Publications

Fairer Paid Parental Leave
Matthew Taylor
07 July 2014 | T30.11

Australia spends just under $1.4 billion (2012–13) on statutory Paid Parental Leave (PPL) to provide more than 130,000 parents with up to 18 weeks of parental leave paid at the full-time minimum wage. The Abbott government proposes to pay primary carers at their pre-birth wages up to a cap of $100,000 for up to 26 weeks. This policy would dramatically…

Withholding Dividends: Better ways to make the public sector efficient
Alexander Philipatos
29 May 2014 | T30.10

As the commission of audit has uncovered, the government must make significant cuts to spending to get the budget back into surplus. In the quest to find savings, the government cannot ignore the public service. For almost 25 years the government has turned to the efficiency dividend to find budget savings and improve efficiency in the public service. But the…

School Funding on a Budget
Jennifer Buckingham
30 April 2014 | T30.09

Government expenditure on schools has more than doubled in real terms in the last 25 years, while student numbers have only grown by 18%. Funding for school education was 3.1% of GDP in 2012–13, and is projected to reach 3.4% by 2025 under current predictions of economic growth. Large increases in real per-student expenditure have not been accompanied by improved…

Submission to the National Commission of Audit
Alexander Philipatos, Jennifer Buckingham, Jeremy Sammut, Robert Carling, Simon Cowan, Stephen Kirchner, Trisha Jha
01 April 2014 | T30.08

The federal government’s Commission of Audit (CoA) was established in 2013 to review the performance and role of government. This publication is an edited version of the CIS submission to the CoA listing practical solutions aimed at cutting government expenditure. The government should adopt a dual approach to its review of spending. First, spending cuts can save the federal government…

States of Debt
Robert Carling
20 March 2014 | T30.07

While Commonwealth government debt has been the focus of attention recently, this report takes a broader view by bringing state debt into the picture. State debt, like that of the federal government, has also risen dramatically since 2007, when net debt was negative. In the six years to 2013, states added $70 billion to their general government net debt, to…