Sound like any Budget you ever heard before? This was Australian Budget Day, although you sense it could equally well be George Osborne at the despatch box.

But in Canberra it was Treasurer Joe Hockey meting out the Abbott government’s medicine to cure Australia’s economic ills.

He reckoned ‘the age of entitlement is over’ and that ‘the days of borrow and spend must come to an end’ and to make the ailing patient better, his proposals include:

– Printing money privately and sparing your granddad from any more bad news (or, in other words, selling off assets such as the Royal Australian Mint and the State hearing aid maker Australian Hearing)

– Spending A$11bn on roads, railways and a new Sydney airport

– Raising the retirement age to 70 by 2035

– Cutting foreign aid and welfare programs

– Downsizing the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The idea is to nearly halve the national budget deficit over the next year from $50bn (£28bn) to $30bn and return it to surplus in the next decade. Meanwhile, the BBC reports that 16,500 Australian public sector employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the latest fiscal fiddling.

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