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Follow NZ: Abbott on budget reform

AAP logoAAP 26/08/2016

The Turnbull government should follow the lead of New Zealand's John Key to reel in the budget deficit, Tony Abbott believes.

A difficult parliament and a budget in peril mean the government should not commit any new recurring spending outside national security, the former prime minister told a construction business forum in Melbourne on Friday.

"This is the John Key road to surplus," he said.

"Not so much defined savings but to shun away any new spending measure and to let growth slowly shrink the relative size of government."

However, Mr Abbott said reform across the Tasman Sea was easier without state governments or an upper house.

Mr Abbott said the "least-politically difficult reform of all" for the Turnbull government should be the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Corporation, given the coalition had taken the policy to the past three elections.

He said construction was costly Australia.

"Industrial bullying is the main reason why at least three of the world's 20 most expensive buildings are in Australia, including a 12-storey building here that cost 25 per cent more than the 163-storey Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai," he said.

A 2006 Human Rights Watch report found the workers on the Burj Khalifa were paid less than $14 a day.

The report also found the local government kept unrepresentative records on workplace deaths and injuries.

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