Abbott  Budget too  harsh for WA
Unpopular: Joe Hockey's first Budget. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

WA voters have rejected the Abbott Government's Budget as unfair and too harsh as more signs emerge it has hit shoppers and the retail sector.

A special survey by ME Bank of 1500 people nationally found WA, long considered the Liberal Party's electoral crown jewel, is overwhelmingly negative towards the Budget.

Almost 70 per cent of WA residents believed they were worse off because of the Budget and a nation-high 78 per cent said it was too harsh on vulnerable people.

Though two-thirds of WA people surveyed strongly supported efforts to pay down government debt, nearly half believed the short-term pain delivered in the Budget would fail to deliver long-term economic gains.

And in a sign of the uphill battle the Government faces winning over voters for individual Budget measures, WA people were highly critical of every single change offered by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Just 12 per cent of WA surveyed backed the $7 co-payment for Medicare services, one of the lowest support rates in the country.

A similar amount supported the increase in the age pension qualifying age to 70, 12.6 per cent support the reintroduction of fuel excise indexation and 10.8 per cent backed the cut in funding to the States for education.

All other measures, such as the changes to Family Tax benefits, indexing the age pension to inflation and the deregulation of university fees, received single-figure support.

The Budget's impact on shopper sentiment continues to be felt, with the monthly Westpac-Melbourne Institute measure effectively flat this month. While stable it is still in "highly pessimistic" territory with the Budget continuing to dominant consumers' thoughts.

Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan said 74 per cent of people recalled "Budget and taxation" as a discussion topic over the past month.

It was the highest recall rate of a single issue since Westpac began its survey in the mid-1970s, surpassing the mining tax and GST debates.

The West Australian

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