It would be difficult for Australia to set up a sovereign wealth fund in the current global economic climate, Treasury says.
The department on Friday released a report saying the federal government would need to have achieved eight budget surpluses of more than four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to replicate the success of Norway's fund.
Labor has produced deficits since 2008/09, although it expects to make a small $1.5 billion surplus in this financial year.
The Treasury report comes a day after the government rejected a Manufacturing Taskforce recommendation that it investigate setting up a sovereign wealth fund.
The department noted the argument in favour of creating a fund, similar to those of the resources-exporting countries of Norway and Chile.
A fund could help relieve pressures on the domestic economy from a high Australian dollar by saving a greater share of tax revenue arising from the mining boom.
But while Norway had experienced comparatively little real exchange rate appreciation during its resources booms, Chile's currency had risen at a similar rate to the Australian dollar.
The department's analysis, included in its latest quarterly economic roundup, also pointed out the economies of Australia and Norway were considerably different.
For example, Australia had captured a much smaller share of the increased national income associated with its resource booms.
"This suggests, taking into account the favourable saving and macroeconomic stability outcomes already achieved during the current boom, that it would be inherently difficult, and not necessarily sensible to replicate the Norwegian experience, particularly within the current global economic environment," it says.
If Australia were to replicate Norway's funds, federal governments would need to target much higher budget surpluses than had been contemplated to date.
"In order to save the same proportion of the increase in national income from the terms of trade as was achieved in Norway, Australian governments would have had to achieve budget surpluses averaging over four per cent of GDP over the past eight years," Treasury said.
The 2012/13 federal budget released in May showed that in the previous four financial years, the budget had average deficits of 3.2 per cent of GDP.
In the four years before that period, the surpluses had averaged 1.6 per cent.
Over the next four years, the government is forecasting surpluses of just over 0.2 per cent.