A high dollar, lower commodity prices and the global economy persistently in the doldrums have slashed government revenue, meaning Australia won't see its expected budget surplus next year.
Treasurer Wayne Swan said yesterday that tax receipts were $3.9 billion less than anticipated at the end of October for the current fiscal year.
According to Swan, the new figures mean "$160 billion has been ripped from the budget bottom line over five years."
Despite the worsened financial position for the government, Swan appeared to rule out further cuts to public spending beyond the $1.3 billion already trimmed in the first four months of this year, saying it would not be responsilbe for the government to continue to make up for the revenue hole if it endangered growth or jobs.
"It would risk putting up unemployment and further damage our growth prospects," Swan said.
While the effects of the budget deficit on government ICT spending are not yet known, analyst firm IDC yesterday predicted a cautious year ahead.
Government agencies are expected to have spent $6.48 billion on ICT this year, up 2.7 percent on last year, according to IDC, with 30 percent of that going on new projects.