South Australia achieving its budget targets will remain a 'most challenging task' if current economic conditions prevail, the state's auditor-general says.
In his annual report tabled in statement parliament on Tuesday, the government's watchdog said shortfalls in GST payments and taxation revenue had impacted heavily on the state's finances.
The government has forecast an $867 million deficit in 2012/13 and doesn't expect the budget to return to surplus until 2015/16.
But Auditor-General Simon O'Neill said that would depend on GST and taxation revenue returning to more normal levels and the success of the government's major savings program, particularly in the health department.
He noted health had not achieved its savings target in each of the past three years.
'The progressive downward revision of key indicators across four successive budget demonstrates that, should the current economic climate prevail and persist, achieving the budget outcomes remains a most challenging task,' Mr O'Neill said.
'It also emphasises the importance of the exercise of a high degree of government management discipline supported by effective reporting and monitoring.'
The auditor-general has also warned that when the new Royal Adelaide Hospital appears on the books in 2015/16, the state's debt to revenue ratio will be an estimated 49.1 per cent.
'This is acutely close to the maximum 50 per cent established as a new fiscal target by the government,' Mr O'Neill said.