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Pyne sharpens his axe

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne
AAP
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Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne has made the case for a deficit levy on higher income earners saying there’s no easy way out on making budget savings.

Mr Pyne’s comments come amid reports the axe is likely to fall on thousands of public servants after Tuesday’s budget starting with the loss of about 3000 jobs at the tax office and the creation of a “super” border protection agency.

Agencies will be closed and thousands of people retrenched from the environment, transport industry, agriculture and indigenous affairs portfolios in the coming months, The Australian reported on Friday.

A new Australian Border Force agency could take over the work of the Customs and Border Protection Service to enforce all customs and immigration laws.

Mr Pyne declined to rule out the reports on public service job cuts, saying there was no easy way out of the nation’s debt problem.

But he was confident the Australian public would later thank the coalition government for making tough decisions.

“Next Tuesday the question will be, `is this a reasonable response to the challenges that we’ve been left?'” he told Nine Network.

The education minister also made a strong case for a deficit levy on high income earners saying the burden should also fall at the top of the earnings scale and not just on those on lower pay or welfare.

“If high income earners are going to contribute … then obviously there’s going to be some kind of adjustment,” he said.

“Nobody likes higher taxes … but at the same time the government has to make tough decisions.”