In reality Australia only has moderate levels of net debt in international terms, at just 18.6 per cent of GDP.
The Budget anticipates "better days ahead" as the global economy improves and the drag from falling mining investment comes to an end.
It appears unlikely that the return to surplus will happen as quickly as forecast, not least because the outlook assumes wages growth increasing sharply by 2018-19 to 3 per cent, which doesn't yet seem to be happening.
Infrastructure ramp up
The budget was apparently big on borrowing for infrastructure spend - gross debt is now projected to blow out to $725 billion by 2027-28 - though the table above suggests that the increase in public demand over the next couple of years is only going to be moderate.
Big numbers, hey! Well, yes and no.
$75 billion is a big number, certainly, but spread over a decade, it's really not quite so dramatic in annual terms.
And a glance back at last year's budget shows it was already claiming that "the Government is investing a record $50 billion in infrastructure between 2013-14 and 2019-20".
The big ticket infrastructure items include a second airport for Sydney, the Snowy Hydro expansion, and a 1,700 kilometre inland rail link running from Brisbane to Melbourne, which is expected to create 16,000 jobs at the peak of construction.
Projections prepared by ANZ show that these projects will increase the pipeline of major infrastructure projects, but in the context of some other hefty transport expenditure not as much as you might think.
Sources of additional funding include a controversial tax on the major banks (raising $6.2 billion over four years, commencing July 1), and another increase to the Medicare levy from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
Overall, the Budget was relatively well received.