No budget surplus for at least 3 years: Australian treasurer

CANBERRA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Treasurer Jim Chalmers has ruled out a return to budget surplus within the next three years.

File photo: AFP

Chalmers urged Australians to "be realistic" ahead of handing down the governing Labor Party's first federal budget since it won May's general election.

The budget is expected to be austere, with few major spending measures as the government seeks to address the rising cost of living and record debt levels.

The Treasury on Wednesday released the final budget outcome for the financial year 2021-22, revealing a deficit of 32 billion Australian dollars (20.8 billion U.S. dollars) -- or 1.4 percent of gross domestic product.

It marked a significant improvement from about 80 billion Australian dollars (52 billion U.S. dollars) for 2021-22 projected by the former government.

Despite the improvement, Chalmers said the budget would not project a surplus in any year through to the next election in 2025.

"When it comes to a surplus this term of the parliament, I think we need to be realistic about the fiscal situation and I don't think that Australians should expect that the budget that I hand down in October will have a surplus in any of the forward years," he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"I think Australians understand that given the fiscal and budget circumstances that we've inherited, it will take much more than one budget to turn that around."

The budget improvement was mostly driven by a 27.7 billion Australian dollar (18 billion U.S. dollar) boost in government receipts -- more than half of which came from higher-than-expected company taxes as a result of high global commodity prices.