17 Dec 2013

Major cuts expected in Australia

9:25 pm on 17 December 2013

Australia's coalition government is warning of major cuts as the country's deficit blows out by billions.

Treasurer Joe Hockey unveiled the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in Canberra on Tuesday, warning that "wasteful spending" will have to be eliminated.

Treasurer Joe Hockey

Treasurer Joe Hockey. Photo: AFP

"Living within our means ... will also require people to adjust to reductions in some spending to which they have become accustomed. Only in this way will the Government be able to sustainably fund the policies that are needed now and in the future."

Detailed cuts are expected in the May Budget, but the outlook has revealed that trade training centres, mostly based in high schools and brought in by the Labor Party, have been scrapped to contribute $A1 billion for the Gonski school funding agreements, the ABC reports.

The federal government decided not to scrap the agreements in November after protests from states and territories.

The funding gap will also be covered by dumping the $A528 million Building Stronger Communities Fund - slated to pay for small programmes and services.

The figures show this year's deficit will blow out to $A47 billion, $A17 billion higher than forecast in the last major budget update in August.

The figures have forced the government to dump its election promise to deliver a surplus in the first year of a second term, saying only that it is committed to "returning the budget to sustainable surpluses that build to at least 1 percent of GDP by 2023-24".