April 07, 2021

Is Budget spending keeping up?

A look at the top three areas of need

Budget day this year will be on Thursday 20 May, and we are taking the opportunity to present a brief series of articles that examine how Crown expenditure on the largest appropriations have changed in recent years.

In 2020, the three largest appropriations (areas of spending) were Social development (which includes superannuation and benefits), Health and Education. As the chart below shows, these appropriations together amounted to more than all other appropriations (Transport, Defence, Business, Science and innovation etc.) combined. The question is, however, are we as a nation spending enough in these three vital areas?

There is, of course, no simple answer to this question, because it depends not only on how the need for spending has changed, but also on the capacity to fund the spending. It would be possible to write volumes on the topic, but we shall attempt an answer in outline.

Articles on the three largest areas of spending will appear during the course of this month.