The reaction to the federal budget has been generally negative, but universities, infrastructure groups and business are pleased with their changes.

Changes to family benefits, work for the dole schemes and a $7 GP co-payment in the federal budget have angered welfare and health groups.

But business gets a tax cut and higher education lobbies back changes on course fees and support for students studying for sub-bachelor qualifications.

Treasurer Joe Hockey says his first budget is fair and will ensure all Australians contribute to the coalition’s budget repair job.

“We are a nation of lifters, not leaners,” he told parliament on Tuesday.

However, the government has been sharply criticised for delivering what many stakeholders believe is a budget that favours the board room but attacks the vulnerable.

Labor says it breaks election promises, by introducing co-payments on GP visits and pathology services, resuming fuel excise increases and tinkering with assistance payments.

“It is a budget built on Tony Abbott’s act of mass deceit,” shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said.

The GP co-payment attracted the most ire, with many groups saying it would make access to primary care more difficult.

“It sends a message to Australians that you shouldn’t get sick … and you shouldn’t get old,” Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association head Charmaine Crowe said.

Changes to family benefits, including a temporary pause on the indexation of payments and programs, and changes to the eligibility thresholds for Newstart also caused concern.

“There are measures in this budget that rip the guts out of what remains of a fair and egalitarian Australia,” St Vincent de Paul Society chief John Falzon said.

Unions were angered by the impact on working families.

“They’re going to pay more for their petrol, they’re going to be paying more to take their families to the doctors, there’s going to be questions around their welfare,” Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said.

The public sector union is looking down the barrel of 16,500 sector job cuts over three years.

“This budget is a con job,” Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said.

But business was happy with a 1.5 percentage point cut to the company tax rate and a government push to ramp up infrastructure projects across the country, particularly for roads.

The Abbott government’s decision to set up a $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund to drive treatment breakthroughs should boost the local research sector.

Universities are also pleased with the decision to allow to set their own tuition fees from 2016.

“These historic reforms reconcile access and quality and make growth affordable,” Group of Eight chairman and ANU vice chancellor Ian Young said.