With so little public consultation undertaken around the Australian Government’s budget for 2014-15, I’ve worked with Fairfax Media this year to give the Australian public an opportunity to understand how it is constructed and provide their views.
While common practice in many countries overseas, there’s still limited authentic consultation on government budgets undertaken in Australia – and I think we’re poorer for it.
Involving the community in setting budget priorities and educating them on how a budget is developed goes a long way towards building understanding and (very importantly) trust in public institutions and politicians.
Even if these processes are only used for informational or even political ends, such as Strong Choices in Queensland, they at least give the public visibility into the challenges that governments contend with.
Of course budget processes are far more valuable when they give people authentic opportunities to influence government decisions, but one step at a time.
Via my company Delib Australia, we’ve modelled budget revenues and expenditures in Budget Simulator and made this available via the Sydney Morning Herald’s site.
The Australian Budget Simulator is open until the end of next week, at which point we’ll be tallying up the feedback and presenting it to the Australian Government for review.
It’s not likely to change any decisions, but at least it will help inform the discussion.
To share your views via the Australian Budget Simulator, visit: www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget-2014/budgetsimulator/