Abbott holds firm on spending cuts

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has reaffirmed his plan to cut government spending by $47 billion if he wins the next federal election.

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The cuts would include abandoning the federal government’s computers in schools program, privatising Medibank Private, and cancelling the National Broadband Network.

Around 12,000 jobs would also be slashed from the public service.

“We are $57 billion in deficit now, which is an absolute record deficit,” Mr Abbot told Macquarie Radio on Tuesday.

He argued that countries including Australia needed to cut back on spending, or run the risk of “ending up like Greece”, which has been pushed to the brink of default.

“Too many countries for too long have been on this debt-fuelled spending binge,” Mr Abbott said.

He said a plan outlined by himself and colleagues Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb, the opposition economic and finance spokesmen, would cut spending by $47 billion.

“We are not going ahead with the National Broadband white elephant,” Mr Abbott repeated.

“We are going to put the private back into Medibank Private.”

“We are going to trim the public service by 12,000.

“We are not going to go ahead with the remaining computers in schools program because at the rate Julia Gillard was rolling the computers out in schools, the kids would have left university before they finally got their computers in schools.”

But Mr Abbott has also recommitted to his policy of paying businesses to reduce their carbon emissions, which he said in February would cost $3.2 billion over four years and more than $10 billion by 2020.

The plan would be “prudent and achievable”, and would achieve a five per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, he said.

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