Budget to be plan for future: Morrison

By Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
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Budget leak suggests $16bln in savings

A post-budget ad campaign leak suggests the federal government is looking to save $16 billion.

Treasurer Scott Morrison predicts his first budget won't be a typical one that simply outlines spending and savings measures.

That's because its release on May 3 will be just weeks before Australians goes to the polls.

"It has to provide the foundation of the economic plan that we want to take to the election," Mr Morrison told his coalition colleagues during a joint-parties meeting on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it would be fair, prudent and one aimed at jobs and growth.

The government had to deny reports it was planning a post-budget ad campaign, after Sky News revealed it had seen a script that highlighted $16 billion in savings over the next four years through changes to superannuation, multinational taxation arrangements and other tax changes.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said there was a great danger the budget would be a "propaganda sheet" for the government.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen promised a Labor government would have more savings than spending over the next decade to repair the budget.

Grattan Institute boss John Daley hopes the government will be tackling superannuation tax concessions, something the think-tank has been advocating for sometime.

"One of the problems with the superannuation system is it is so badly targeted that you can take money away from a relatively small amount of people and it actually adds up to a really big (dollar) number," he told AAP.

BDO tax partner David Blake is under no illusion a July 2 election has put the prospect of any real tax reform on the backburner.

But he told AAP the consistent message from clients is they are a "little bit sick and tired" of promised reform and then nothing happens.

John Brazzale at consultants Pitcher Partners wants all political parties to make the election a tax reform poll.

"We have a revenue and spending imbalance at the heart of the Australian economy, and it's time to get serious about solving that," he said.

There was some good economic news for the government with consumer confidence bouncing back 3.4 per cent last week, after falling nearly four per cent over the previous four weeks.

ANZ head of Australian economics Felicity Emmett said figures last week showing the jobless rate at its lowest rate in over two years at 5.7 per cent had given confidence a boost.

"Household spending remains a key risk to the outlook, and as such confidence will be key to watch in the lead-up to the budget," she said.

ANZ economists expect Australia's triple-A rating will remain in the spotlight after a warning by one of the major global credit rating agencies last week, although the bank doesn't see a risk of a downgrade at this point in time.

"That said, there is likely to be continued speculation about the rating given the ongoing lack of improvement in the forecast budget trajectory, and the government's inability to pass key savings measures in the Senate," they said in their pre-budget preview.