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Business cautions against ‘dull’ budget from Abbott Government

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Business groups say Australia needs the federal budget to be bold, not dull as the Prime Minister forecast last week.

As the AFR reports, Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week said that Australians can expect a “dull” budget "because we have got the budget situation from out of control to manageable".

However, business leaders such as Innes Willox from the Australian Industry Group disagree with this approach.

"The last thing we need as a community, and as a business community, is another year of paralysis and doubt about what the Government can do," he told the ABC.

"We need some clean air and some very clear objectives about what can be achieved over the next year to address some of the long structural problems that we have as well as driving growth for the future.”

He called for long-term spending cuts, company tax cuts, as well as increased spending in research and development.

"We can't afford to stand still. We would hope that any government would be able to pick its targets appropriately to boost reform," Willox said.

He added that “bold” action is required “to set up the economy for the future."

The AFR points out that Abbott’s claim that the budget woes have been eased are questionable. In fact, since the Coalition won office the budget bottom line has gone backwards by at least $80 billion.

The list of measures from last year’s budget which have not passed the senate includes the GP co-payment and tertiary education changes. On top of that the government has decided to give the car industry more money so there haven’t been a lot of savings.

Still, as AAP reports, the government maintains it will make some cuts in the budget.

"Absolutely. We have to lower it and ultimately we are cutting it," assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Network Ten on Sunday.

According to the SMH, Abbott’s reference to a dull budget comes down to politics. The electorate has decided that the previous budget was unfair and it won’t accept more of the same. 

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