Treasurer Joe Hockey insists his first budget will build a strong economy, with a focus on roads infrastructure.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has described his first federal budget as a “contribute and build budget” that will create tens of thousands of jobs through major road building projects.
Mr Hockey says a key component of Tuesday’s budget will be a road funding plan of more than $80 billion over the next six years, of which the commonwealth will contribute in excess of $40 billion.
That figure will be matched by the states and the private sector.
Mr Hockey says if the government raises the fuel excise, which has been frozen since 2001, it will go into roads.
“We are laying a plan for the biggest increase in road expenditure in Australian history,” he told the Nine Network on Sunday.
“That is tens of thousands of new jobs, but most importantly, it is going to address the significant drop-off in investment in construction in Australia associated with mining investment coming off.”
It would be a “contribute and build” budget.
“It is a budget that asks the Australian people to contribute to a stronger Australian economy, a more prosperous Australia with more jobs and a greater sense of security,” Mr Hockey said.
Mr Hockey dismissed the idea that it will be a “slash and burn” budget.
But it will make sure Australia’s quality of life is sustainable, he said.
The budget will lay out a pathway to a surplus of one per cent of gross domestic product by 2023/24.
It will fix the budget in a structural manner, but at the same time it will stimulate economic growth.
“Everything we are doing on Tuesday night is going to be about jobs and about prosperity,” Mr Hockey said.
He said he inherited an economy that pointed to an unemployment rate of 6.25 per cent.
“We are going to do everything we can to make sure we never get there,” he said.
Data released last week showed the jobless rate holding steady at 5.8 per cent in April, having touched a decade high of six per cent earlier in the year.
Mr Hockey confirmed Prime Minister Tony Abbott had written to the Independent Remuneration Tribunal to freeze the salaries of politicians and senior public servants for a year in the budget.
He said there needed to be a very clear message to voters that whatever the government was asking them to contribute to repairing the budget, it was contributing too.
The budget will also include a deficit levy on high income earners, but Mr Hockey did not accept that would be breaking a election promise.
“We never said we were going to never change a tax or alter a tax,” he said.