Minister for Finance Katy Gallagher.
Katy Gallagher has flagged more spending in the budget as economists warn to keep it in check. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics (general)

Finding savings in budget getting ‘harder’: Labor

Tess Ikonomou May 5, 2024

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher has flagged more spending in the upcoming federal budget as economists warn to keep it in check. 

The Albanese government will hand down its third budget in less than two weeks, with experts calling for caution in spending to prevent it from being inflationary. 

Senator Gallagher said the government will deliver $1 billion in savings on consultants and contractors, but this was becoming more difficult. 

Asked if Labor’s total savings in the upcoming budget were going to be more than new spending, she replied “finding savings is harder”.

“You’ll see a big focus in this budget is cost of living, obviously dealing with inflation, and then putting down the foundations for growth,” the finance minister told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

“Inflation is a focus of the budget, it’s been a primary focus of our budget.

“The investments we’re making are putting downward pressure on inflation, but at the same time, we need to get serious about the investments we’re going to make to grow the economy as well.”

Senator Gallagher said there would be unavoidable spending for programs that were coming to an end, including in health.

“You’ll see some reprioritisation with existing expenditure … but the pressure on the budget is real and intensifying,” she said.

The government delivered a $22.1 billion surplus in 2022/23, the first in 15 years.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has said he was aiming to land a second surplus but has tempered expectations on its likely size.