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Questioning the assumptions underlying the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook

Margaret Giles writes in The Conversation (20.5.16) about the release by the Treasury and the Finance Department of the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (or PEFO), which provided a politician-free assessment of the government’s budgetary position in the lead-up to the federal election.

‘Coming just weeks after the federal budget, the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) was unlikely to reveal anything new.

‘And in general this is the case, with the projected deficit for 2016-17 remaining at $37.1 billion (although the underlying cash balance for the current year has decreased by $1.8 million).

‘Forecasts for other indicators for growth, inflation and unemployment remain basically unchanged. However, the PEFO papers provide an opportunity for voters and commentators to cast aside the “what’s in it for me” reaction to the Budget to more closely examine the estimates and forecasts of the key economic indicators on which the Budget position is based.’

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