Joe Hockey lays ground work for cuts in Federal Budget
TREASURER Joe Hockey has begun laying the groundwork for likely cuts in his first Federal Budget in May, issuing a "call to action" for all Australians to help "do the heavy lifting".
Mr Hockey, who now has six weeks before he releases his first budget, has now received the final Commission of Audit report, which will likely shape the coming budget.
After declaring an end to the "age of entitlement", Mr Hockey on Monday said the government needed to take "immediate action" to address the deteriorating budget.
He said he wanted to ensure "the whole nation helps to do the heavy lifting", intimating he did not want to place a larger burden on "any one cohort in the community" compared to others.
"It's not going to be a case of a few do the major sacrifice. Everyone is going to have to make a contribution - big business, small business, all people from all demographics across the community," he said.
Despite promises from Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews that the aged pension would not be touched, Mr Hockey indicated the pension could yet face a cut.
Mr Hockey said some areas of welfare spending had experienced "massive growth", saying the ageing population and "changing demographics" needed to be affordable.
But he did not reveal when the government would release the final audit report, despite speculation rising of its potential recommendations about government spending.