The government must not shy away from fiscal repair

The real issue plaguing the government isn't a decline in the terms of trade -- it's an unsustainable addiction to spending.

On the face of it, the MYEFO is a fairly harmless document. At a basic level it simply delays the job of budget repair by a year or two.

Back in May, the government forecast a modest surplus of 0.1 per cent by 2017-18 (on a fiscal basis). This is now expected to be a deficit of 0.3 per cent -- a surplus is now expected around 2019-20. 

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