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Aussie PM calls for support for spending cut

English.news.cn   2014-05-04 22:56:53

CANBERRA, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Sunday sent a message to the Australian people, urging for support for potential shrinking spending.

Abbott said in his message that the government is prepared to " fix the budget", indicating more spending cut in the new budget, which is scheduled to be released on May 13.

"A strong Budget is the foundation for a strong country. This Budget is part of the Government's Economic Action Strategy to build a stronger, more prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia," Abbott said.

The prime minister stressed that Australians "must live within our means as we did in the Howard years because that's the foundation for future prosperity."

Abbott said the previous Labor government ran up five record deficits, having left 123 billion AU dollars (114 billion U.S. dollars) in deficits for coming years and 667 billion AU dollars ( 618 billion U.S. dollars) in projected debt.

The interest payments alone acount for around one billion AU dollars (927 million U.S. dollars) every month.

The country's National Commission of Audit released its report on Thursday, with 86 recommendations to the federal Budget, aimed at saving the budget up to 70 billion AU dollars (64.9 billion U.S. dollars) annually.

The commission was established by the Australian government as an independent body to review and report on the performance, functions and roles of the Commonwealth Government.

It has focused on the 15 biggest Commonwealth spending areas and found the long-term outlook for the budget is "ominous."

Its 86 recommendations, detailed in more than 1,200 pages, address major structural changes that the commission said could save the budget tens of billions of dollars a year and achieve a surplus of one percent by 2023-24.

Michael Stutchbury, Editor-in-Chief of The Financial Review, commented that the Commission of Audit report is mostly about shoring up the Australian economic and social model in today's globalised economy.

"We need to promote enterprise. But we also want to protect the vulnerable. To do this, the welfare state needs to concentrate on those most in need - the bottom 20 percent or so - while removing the penalties on the top 80 percent as they look after themselves, " Stutchbury said.

While supporting all the recommendations by the Commission of audit report, Stutchbury said neither the newspaper nor report author Tony Shepherd support Treasurer Joe Hockey's deficit tax plan for a 2.5-billion-AU dollar (2.3 billion U.S. dollar) income tax hike in the May 13 budget.

The tax scheme is most likely to lift the tax scale applying above 80,000 AU dollars (74,000 U.S. dollars) from 37 percent to 38 percent and the scale above 180,000 AU dollars (167,000 U.S. dollars) from 45 percent to 47 percent.

"This would blunt the work and investment incentives that drive the economy: it's contrary to everything this government is supposed to stand for," Stutchbury said.

Abbott said the budget should be about the country and its future, and Australia's ability to sustain for the long term important services and the social security net.

He called on all Australian people to share the burden because "sharing the burden makes it lighter for all of us."

"The government will do the right thing by Australia in this Budget so that we can all share in the jobs and the prosperity that should follow," said the prime minister.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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