Budget outcome unlikely before election

The final federal budget outcome for 2012/13 may not be known before voters go to the polls on September 14.

Department of Finance head David Tune told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Tuesday the usual release date was closer to September 30.

Although the final budget outcome was released on September 10 in 2004, since then there had been a change to international accounting standards which meant an additional two weeks of auditing.

"You are pushing up against September 30 deadline nearly all the times these day," Mr Tune told the opposition's junior treasury spokesman Mathias Cormann.

When the senator asked whether it would be possible to release it before the election, Mr Tune said: "I think it would be very difficult."

The pre-election economic and fiscal outlook will be released as usual, 10 days after the writs are issued.

That will be August 22.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has said a budget surplus this year is unlikely even though a mid-year review forecast a $1.1 billion surplus.

Some analysts says a budget deficit between $12-15 billion is more likely.

Mr Tune also told the hearing costings for the government's response to the Gonski school funding review and the National Disability Insurance Scheme had yet to be finalised.

The government has said both measures will be included in the May 14 budget.

Senator Cormann asked whether that meant the government could not actually estimate how much additional revenue would be needed to fund Labor's two key initiatives.

"Our own costings that have been provided to the government, obviously to assist them ... all that feeds into the budget process," Mr Tune said.

Mr Tune also told the hearing that costings for the government's response to the Gonski school funding review and the National Disability Insurance Scheme had yet to be finalised.

The government has said both measures will be included in the May 14 budget.

Senator Cormann asked whether that meant the government could not actually estimate how much additional revenue would be needed to fund Labor's two key initiatives.

"Our own costings that have been provided to the government, obviously to assist them ... all that feeds into the budget process," Mr Tune said.

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