SPC Ardmona was denied a bailout.

The nation's businesses have been told the corporate gravy train is over, with Treasurer Joe Hockey warning the Budget can no longer afford to carry them.

In a speech also attacking "middle-class welfare", Mr Hockey said falling prices for key exports and an ageing population meant handouts were simply no longer available.

In the past two months the Government has pushed back pleas for help from General Motors Holden and SPC Ardmona.

At the same time it has delivered handouts to other companies, including Cadbury for "tourism infrastructure" at its plant in Tasmania.

Mr Hockey said the Government's focus had to be getting public debt under control so it could respond to future economic shocks.

Though the Government has made clear it wants to wind back handouts, Mr Hockey said a "cashed-up" corporate Australia also had to do some financial heavy lifting.

"Too many taxpayers' dollars have been spent on corporate and middle-class welfare and too often previous governments have been drawn into areas that are better left to the private sector," he said.

"Not only are these policies an unsustainable use of taxpayers' funds, they also undermine economic incentives, our productivity and ultimately our national prosperity."

Mr Hockey signalled that though the May Budget would contain cuts, there would also be more money funnelled into infrastructure.

The West Australian

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