2022-23 Australian Capital Territory Budget
On the 22nd of August 2022, the Chief Minister and Treasurer for the Australian Capital Territory, Andrew Barr delivered his 11th Budget Statement. The 2022-23 ACT Budget is future-focused with an emphasis on economic and fiscal recovery and investment in essential services to support the growing population.
The 2021 Census revealed that the Australian Capital Territories population was previously under-counted and thus, the ACT will receive a larger proportion of federal funding. The Territory’s population has also grown faster than predicted which has driven a record commitment in the territory’s budget for health and housing.
Key infrastructure projects being funded through the 2022-23 Budget include the Canberra Institute of Technology Woden Campus Project and public transport interchange, new and expanded schools in Molonglo, Gungahlin and the Inner North, supporting the transition to a zero emissions bus fleet, the first stages of the Canberra Theatre Centre expansion and redevelopment; as well as continued work on the Canberra Hospital Expansion, extending light rail and raising London Circuit.
Since the 2021-22 Budget was delivered in October 2021, the ACT Budget position has improved by over $800 million over four years. The deficit in 2021-22 is now estimated to be $580.4 million, $371.1 million lower than forecast at the time of the 2021-22 Budget, and $189.8 million lower than forecast in the 2021-22 Budget Review.
This fiscal position is also expected to continue in the coming years, with deficits now expected to be lower than previously estimated and progressively reducing to $229.4 million in 2025-26. Relative to the 2021-22 Budget, all key balance sheet metrics for 2022-23 and out years – net debt, net financial liabilities and net worth – are also improved.
The ACT economy is forecast to grow by 3 per cent in 2022-23, a reduction of ¼ of a percentage point from expectations at the time of the 2021-22 Budget and Budget Review given the short-term economic headwinds of inflation and the resulting impact on private consumption and investment.
Total revenue is expected to be $303.2 million higher in 2022-23, and $1.1 billion higher over the three years to 2024-25, than forecast in the 2021-22 Budget Review.
Significant movements in forecast revenue in 2022-23 and over the forward estimates include:
- An increase in estimated GST revenue of $197.2 million in 2022-23 due to a budget-balancing adjustment for underpayment of GST in 2021-22
- Adopting an increase in own-source taxation revenue of $79.5 million in 2022-23 largely due to higher payroll tax revenue expected wages
- An increase in large-scale generation certificates contributing to asset gains of $57.3 million in 2022-23 mainly due to higher than forecast spot prices and new renewable electricity generators coming online in the coming years
- An increase in returns from the Suburban Land Agency, City Renewal Authority and Icon Water of $87.8 million over three years.
Total expenses in 2022-23 are expected to be $284.1 million higher than forecast in the 2021-22 Budget Review and $943.5 million higher over the three years to 2024-25. Significant movements in forecast expenses in 2022-23 and over the forward estimates include:
- Additional funding of $161.9 million for new initiatives in 2022-23
- $361 million over three years
- An increase of $57.3 million in expenses associated with large-scale generation certificates ($184.7 million over three years), fully offset by the increase in revenue above
- An increase in superannuation liability expense of $51.2 million in 2022-23 ($112.2 million over three years) largely due to changes in financial assumptions in the latest annual defined benefit superannuation liability review
- Higher interest expense of $17.9 million in 2022-23 ($130.2 million over three years), due to the impact of higher interest rates on new borrowings
Over the five years to 2026-27 the ACT Government has committed to spending:
- $820 million on health infrastructure
- $1 billion on education and skills infrastructure
- $1.4 billion for roads, public transport and active travel
- $600 million on housing infrastructure
- $300 million on climate action and environmental infrastructure
Major projects over the next five years include:
- Expanding the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children
- Establishing a new Cancer Research Centre
- Delivering the new CIT Woden Campus and Public Transport Interchange
- Continuing the Public Housing Growth and Renewal Program, which will deliver 400 additional public housing properties and renew 1,000 properties
- Completing John Gorton Drive in Molonglo, duplicating William Hovell Drive, and upgrading the Monaro Highway and roads in south-west Canberra
- Improvements to accommodation at the Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre and vehicle replacements for the Emergency Services Agency
2022-23 Budget Breakdown
Health and Mental Health
Health is the largest area of expenditure in the ACT budget. The budget will include $390 million extra for public health services, with the overall health spending hitting slightly more than $2.2 billion a year.
- $16.4 million to expand the allied health workforce:
- 100 additional FTE positions in 2022-23, growing to 170 additional FTE budgets in 2023-24
- $3 million to expand the Nurse Practitioner workforce at Canberra’s five nurse-led Walk-in Centers
- $7.2 million dollars to provide better psychosocial wellbeing and address occupational violence within the healthcare workforce
- $50 million to support the implementation of the Digital Health Record
- $30 million to deliver more elective surgeries
- $5.7 million investment funds an additional 900 endoscopies
- $17 million investment to deliver more Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and inpatient beds at Calvary Hospital
- $4.8 million to expand the community paediatrics team with a new Neurodevelopment and Behavioural Assessment and Treatment Service
- $1 million to deliver new fellowships for early and mid-career researchers
- $13 million going towards addiction drug and alcohol treatment facilities
In partnership with the Commonwealth Government, the ACT Government will deliver a $37.5 million package for a range of support services including:
- $14.5 million over four years for:
- perinatal mental health screening
- expanding the Childhood Early Intervention Team into the Gungahlin Child and Family Centre
- An expansion of suicide prevention programs
- An extension of the second Police, Ambulance and Clinician Early Response (PACER) team for a further 12 months
The Government will commence the implementation of the first phase of the Canberra Hospital Master Plan. This includes:
- the design and fit-out of a 64-bed inpatient unit in the Canberra Hospital Expansion Critical Services Building
- design work
- Costings and demolition for a new pathology building
- Design and costings for a new inpatient building
Canberra Hospital Expansion – Artist’s impression:
Cost of Living
- Low-income households to get an additional one-off $50 increase in the utility concession in 2022-23 to help with the rising cost of living.
- Public transport fares are not scheduled to change in 2022-23.
- The Pensioner General Rates Rebate will provide Age Pension, Department of Veterans’ Affairs Pension, and War Veteran’s Pension recipients a 50 per cent rates rebate up to $750 per year
- Regulated retail electricity prices and water and sewerage services prices will decrease, on average, by 1.25 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively in 2022-23.
- Stamp duty for homes between $260,000 to $1,455,000 will be reduced by $1120, and the home buyer concession scheme income threshold will be increased from $160,000 to $170,000.
- The 2022 Indicative Land Release Program (ILRP) released outlines the release of 16,417 dwelling sites over the next five years.
- The Government has committed to releasing the Build-to-Rent Investment Prospectus, outlining its plans to encourage more build-to-rent developments in the ACT and provide financial support on affordability components of development proposals.
- The Budget will include a further $30 million investment to support the Growing and Renewing Public Housing program, adding a further 140 new public housing dwellings
- $160m for housing and homelessness, including:
- $95m for public housing and homelessness
- $45m to support housing affordability for low-to medium income households
- $20m support housing choice and quality
- $30 million for the expanded Canberra Theatre Centre
- Detailed design and undertake extensive stakeholder and community consultation
- Essential workplace health and safety upgrades
Canberra Theatre – Artists’ impression:
- $7.9 million for major heritage restorations and critical building upgrades at Gorman House Arts Centre
- Funding for arts organisations will increase by around 10 per cent, providing a total of over $7.9 million per year to Canberra’s leading arts organisations.
The Government has committed to delivering community legal services:
- $1.072 million over three years to Canberra Community Law
- $743,000 over two years to Aboriginal Legal Services to establish a new dedicated Care and Protection Legal Advocacy Service to provide culturally appropriate legal and advocacy services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT’s care and protection system.
- $470,000 over three years to Aboriginal Legal Services NSW/ACT to continue the Trial Advocate position, which provides legal assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans; and
- $700,000 over three years to CARE ACT to provide ongoing base funding to enable it to continue the Mobile Debt Clinic
The ACT Government has committed $ 240 million of new funding for education and skills in the new budget including a new Highschool in Taylor and the expansion of Margaret Hendry School.
$230m for new initiatives to improve community support, social inclusion and safety, including:
- $110m for community support and social inclusion
- $60m for emergency services.
- $35m for justice system reforms and human rights.
- $24m for new or expanded programs and actions to prevent and respond to sexual assault, and family and domestic violence.
For more information on the ACT Budget please contact your Hawker Britton consultant Simon Banks on +61 419 638 587.