Fair go or budget fudge?

TREASURER Wayne Swan said his fifth budget would give Australians a "fair go" but Deloitte Access Economics projections have cast doubt on the government's ability to return the Federal Budget to surplus.

Budget sweeteners include direct payments to help parents with school costs, exemptions for disaster victims from the flood levy and dental healthcare fund boosts.

However several budget announcements would be funded over three or four years, with specific allocations for the 2012-13 fiscal year remaining unreleased yesterday.

Mr Swan said while the government was committed to the surplus, today's budget would also be a "fair go budget".

"It will be a surplus budget but it will be a fair go budget as well, supporting low and middle income earners, particularly with the Schoolkids Bonus but also support for small business and the first steps in terms of the National Disability Insurance Scheme," he said.

"It will also show that we in Australia have done so much better than many other countries around the world and what that means for Australia is that we can have confidence in our economic fundamentals."

Under the Schoolkids Bonus, funds for school supplies would be deposited directly into taxpayers' accounts, but it would not ensure the money was spent on educational needs.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said the payments for parents were a "sugar hit to compensate for the carbon tax".

"The government's dressing mutton up as lamb by claiming that this is related to education, when in fact there is no link to education other than it's an underspend from the current year where the government's bringing it forward and paying into people's bank accounts whether they want the money or not," he said.

"This is all a budgetary fudge."

Deloitte Access Economics released its annual budget monitor yesterday and claimed government revenue was not growing as fast as Treasury had forecast.



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