The West

Govt considers Budget concessions

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has ruled out radically reshaping the Budget but indicated some tweaks would be made to win over crossbenchers.

A key crossbench senator says the introduction of patient co-payments for visiting the doctor could win support if the Abbott Government significantly watered down its impact.

Amid growing pressure on the Government to soften some measures, Family First Senator Bob Day was scathing of its efforts to negotiate so far.

Senator Day said the Government had largely shown an unwillingness to compromise, citing how ministers such as Joe Hockey lacked life experience.

"The problem we have is these guys don't have an understanding of how markets work in the real world," Senator Day, once one of Australia's biggest homebuilders, said.

Newspaper reports yesterday suggested the Government would "reboot" the Budget to make it more family-friendly and give ground on some of its most contentious measures.

These included concessions on the $7 Medicare co-payment and keeping the interest rate on student loans at the inflation rate as a trade-off for support for the deregulation of university fees.

Also floated was splitting the mining tax repeal Bills. That would allow the Government to scrap the slug on the industry while satisfying crossbench demands to keep some of the programs linked to it, including support for low-income earners and the Schoolkids Bonus.

Completing the annual Pollie Pedal ride in Sydney yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott referred to the disconnect between "the world of the official briefing" and a world people actually inhabited.

"So often we can dwell in this world of officialdom where policy is all marvellous but if it doesn't actually translate into something that helps people it is all a bit pointless," he said.

The West Australian

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