This year’s federal budget bottom line has improved by $15.9 billion in the past 10 weeks, but Australians still face ongoing deficits and a mountain of debt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Thursday revealed in the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook that this year’s budget deficit is now on track to be $197.7 billion and $66 billion in 2023-24. On October 6, when Mr Frydenberg handed down the delayed budget, he forecast a deficit of $213.7 billion.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed the budget is in better shape than predicted in the October budget.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed the budget is in better shape than predicted in the October budget.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The improvement is due to soaring iron ore prices, which has swelled company tax receipts, and lower-than-expected unemployment levels which has reduced expenditure on JobSeeker and the JobKeeper wage subsidy program.

The jobless rate is expected to peak at 7.5 per cent in the March quarter 2021 but will remain stubbornly high, falling to 6.25 per cent in the June quarter 2022.

Net debt is expected to reach $951.7 billion by mid-June 2024.

More to come



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