Canberra, Sep 27 (IANS) The Australian federal budget has run up a deficit of 18.8 billion AU dollars ($17.5 billion) for the 2012-13 financial year, government data released Friday showed.
"The challenge for the next three years is to rebuild the public's trust in the government's finances through prudent management of taxpayers' money and careful and responsible governance," Treasurer Joe Hockey said, reported Xinhua.
In the 2012-13 Budget, the previous Labour government promised a surplus of 1.5 billion AU dollars ($1.4 billion), but ended up delivering a deficit of 18.8 billion AU dollars, Hockey said.
The number was, in fact, unchanged from that announced by former Labour treasurer Chris Bowen in August, and reflected a modest improvement on the 19.4 billion ($18.1 billion) deficit forecast in May.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the final budget outcome confirmed the "deteriorating state of the budget".
The government would outline its plan to return the budget to surplus "in the next few months", said Hockey.
One of the first pieces of legislation the new coalition government will have to deal with in the new parliament will be a bill to raise the national debt ceiling beyond 300 billion AU dollars ($280 billion).
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