- The foreign aid budget gets a boost of $523 million between 2015/16 and 2016/17, reducing over the next year in 2017/18 by $426 million, before picking up again in the following years. This increase in foreign aid includes contributions to Asian Development Fund and the World Bank’s International Development Association, which are renewed commitments by the Australian Government, primarily for local infrastructure projects.
- Immigration and border protection will be sources of budget savings of $68.2 million over the next five years, with the closure of several detention centres including the Maribyrnong and Blaxland Detention Centres, the Perth Immigration Residential Housing and the lease of the Wickham Point facility. The sale of land at Maribyrnong and Villawood is also going to raise revenue within this portfolio.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) are being maintained, as previously announced by the government. The direction of the CEFC is now being aligned with the Federal Government’s innovation agenda, which now mandates that its $1 billion funding over 10 years be used to establish a Clean Energy Innovation Fund that will enable clean energy technology prototypes to begin commercial release. ARENA will also be involved in this process, being jointly responsible for managing the Innovation Fund.
Within the Environment portfolio, there is an overall 9.3% decrease over the next three years, in real terms, in total expenditure. It is continuing the decisions of the 2014/15 Budget in reducing funding for the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships programs, and closing the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fun and the Low Carbon Communities program.
The government is committing $171 million over the next six years to the Reef Trust and the Reef 2050 plan, but under its continued Direct Action scheme, the number of Green Army projects will be further limited, although there is also a relatively small investment of $20 million for its 20 Million Trees program, for the planting of native trees and re-creation of ‘green corridors’.
- Overall budget position, and looking forward
- Underlying cash balance deficit of $37.1b, projected to decrease to $6b by 2019-20