Cuts to defence and welfare spending while increasing the GST are seen by business leaders as the best options to get the budget back to surplus.
That’s the findings in the Committee for Economic Development of Australia’s annual ‘Big Issue’ survey, which says surplus should be achieved through both expenditure cuts and revenue increases.
CEDA boss Stephen Martin says business also considers fixing tax avoidance as a priority as one way to increase government revenue.
Deposed Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey maintained during their two-year tenure that the federal government had “a spending problem, not a revenue problem” – a position that has been softened under the leadership of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison.
The Turnbull government has so far refused to engage with speculation that it is planning to increase the goods and services tax from 10 per cent to 15 per cent, and possibly broaden it to cover health, education and fresh food.
However, it has not ruled it out, continuing to say “everything is on the table”.
The federal budget deficit for 2015/16 is forecast to be $35.1 billion, or around $4000 per household.