SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

MINISTER FOR FINANCE AND DEREGULATION

MEDIA RELEASE

22 October 2012

GOVERNMENT FINDS SAVINGS IN UNCOMMITTED GRANTS FUNDING

The Government has today finalised its consideration of grants funding and has reduced uncommitted grants funding by $157.5m in 2012-13.

Of this, $84.9 million has been re-directed to other Government priorities. The Government will also delay $72.5 million from 2012-13 to later years within programs to better reflect expected roll outs, including less than anticipated take-up and program milestones.

Reviewing the levels of existing program expenditure is a normal part of the Budget process.

Today’s announcement means the temporary grants pause that was put in place to allow the Government to examine every dollar of spending and ensure taxpayers are getting value for money is now lifted.

No grants already awarded will be affected by the decisions announced today – savings have only been found in programs with uncommitted funds.

The Government recognises the importance of grants programs and will ensure they continue to provide important services to the community. At the same time, it’s critical that programs maintain value for money.

These decisions contribute to the Government’s returning the budget to surplus this financial year, which provides ongoing scope for monetary policy to respond to economic developments and underpins confidence in Australia’s public finances at a time of global economic uncertainty.

We have seen revenue write-downs of almost $160 billion over five years since the start of the Global Financial Crisis and this means spending across a range of areas has had to be closely looked at.

Savings have been made to grants programs administered by agencies across a range of portfolios.