News National Get ready for more cuts: Hockey

Get ready for more cuts: Hockey

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Treasurer Joe Hockey has announced he will make more further “modest” budget cuts, admitting that he has abandoned hope of a return to surplus by 2018 as previously promised.

The savings measures will be release on Monday as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which serves as an update to the budget, Mr Hockey told Sky News.

He moved to reassure the public, saying the savings would not have a negative impact on the economy.

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“They’re modest savings overall because our expenditure is very modest,” Mr Hockey said.

“New spending we’re offsetting with new savings.”

The budget prediction of a $30 billion deficit would be surpassed, said the Treasurer, who blamed rising iron ore prices and a hostile Senate that has blocked spending cuts.

“Well you’ll see on Monday what the cost to the bottom line is,” Mr Hockey said.

The Treasurer disagreed that the economy needs a reboot, saying it is “fundamentally strong”.

Mr Hockey refused to speculate on whether he would further cut foreign aid, and said he would not raise the GST to fix the budget.

“I don’t see broadening the GST or increasing the rate of the GST as a silver bullet for the economy at all,” Mr Hockey said.

“I don’t have any desire to increase the cost of living for everyday Australians without being able to properly compensate for it and the budget has limited capacity to do that.”

Mr Hockey acknowledged the heavy criticism levelled at him of late, and admitted that he could have done a better job selling the government’s widely unpopular budget.

“This year we were focused on outcomes rather than process. We made a mistake,” he said.

“I fully accept that we could have done more marketing.

“We could have spent more time explaining to the Australian people and we should have.”

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