The federal budget deficit hit $40 billion at the end of April as a result of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The mid-year budget update released in December forecast a deficit of $7.6 billion within the same period.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says total payments to the end of April were $12 billion higher than assumed, including a cashflow boost for employers, stimulus payments to pensioners and welfare recipients, and health spending programs.
“The government is helping to keep businesses in business, Australians in jobs and to support those who lost their job with $259 billion or 13.3 per cent of GDP announced in total economic support,” Senator Cormann said in a statement on Friday.
He said the support measures would be temporary, limited to the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years, and was not “baking material structural burdens” into the budget bottom line beyond that period.
Receipts were reported as being almost $20 billion lower than the mid-year forecast.
The government is due to provide an economic and fiscal update in June following the release of the March quarter national accounts.
The 2020/21 budget will be delivered in October, having been postponed from May.