The general government sector recorded an operating surplus of $1,612 million for the three months to 30 September 2019, a substantial turnaround on the $100 million deficit reported for the same period in 2018-19. This turnaround largely reflects the impact of temporarily elevated iron ore prices during the quarter, and the timing of 2019-20 GST top-up funding.
Total public sector net debt was $36.8 billion at 30 September 2019. This includes the first-time recognition of lease obligations measured under AASB 16: Leases. Adjusting 2018-19 outcomes for AASB 16 changes, the 30 September 2019 outturn is consistent with net debt having peaked in 2018-19.
Care should be exercised in extrapolating the likely outcome for the 2019-20 year based on the quarterly results to date, particularly in light of the seasonal and other timing factors that impact the State’s finances.
Updated forecasts for 2019-20 and the forward estimates period to 2022-23 will be included in the 2019-20 Government Mid-year Financial Projections Statement which is to be released by 31 December 2019.