South Australia’s Strategic Plan is comprised of 100 targets. These targets are specific and measurable and enable us to measure our progress towards achieving the Plan’s visions and goals.
Each target is reported on through this section of the website. Data is analysed and uploaded as it becomes available.
Target:34. Credit rating:
Maintain AAA credit rating
Rating agencies such as Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s regularly assess and rate the creditworthiness of governments and businesses. Having a higher credit rating means that the state is able to borrow on more favourable terms to finance major infrastructure projects.
In 2004, the baseline year for this target, both agencies rated South Australia to their highest credit rating of ‘AAA’— Standard and Poor’s in September 2004 and Moody’s in November 2004. In every yearly review until 2011, both agencies rated South Australia at their highest credit rating. In 2012, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s downgraded the state’s credit rating from AAA to AA and Aa1, respectively.
The original 2004 SASP included a credit rating target (T1.17), as did the 2007 SASP (T1.13). This reflected the fact that, throughout this period, one of the Government’s key fiscal targets was to maintain a AAA credit rating for South Australia.
Since then, a number of international, national and local factors led to cautious spending by consumers, and a significant decline in revenues. In response, the Government has reviewed and updated the underlying fiscal targets on which the budget is based. Rather than focusing on the AAA rating, the new targets focus on the broader issue of fiscal sustainability:
- a net operating surplus by the end of the forward estimates;
- operating expenditure growth limited to trend growth in household income, once surplus is achieved; and
- a level of general government net debt that remains affordable over the forward estimates— a maximum ratio of net debt to revenue of 35 per cent.
Department of Treasury and Finance