News National Hockey wants informed debate on budget

Hockey wants informed debate on budget

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The federal government is continuing to set the scene for a likely tough budget in May, with Treasurer Joe Hockey saying the community needs to understand the magnitude of the task facing the coalition.

Mr Hockey told The Australian Financial Review he and Prime Minister Tony Abbott favoured a public release of the findings of a commission of audit into government spending ahead of the budget, to allow an “informed debate”.

The commission, set up after last year’s election, is tasked with finding savings and efficiencies across the whole of government.

“The community needs to be aware of why we are going down the path of change,” Mr Hockey said in the interview published on Wednesday.

Budget cuts were needed because if they weren’t implemented “our lifestyle is not sustainable as a nation”.

The National Commission of Audit, headed by businessman Tony Shepherd, is due to present its interim report to the government by mid-February, ahead of a final report in March.

The federal budget is currently running at a deficit.