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MYEFO a reminder to work together

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016

Business believes the mid-year budget update is a fresh reminder for parliament to work together to return the nation's finances back in the black.

The review, released on Monday, shows the bottom line worsening over the next three years but still with an expectation of a return to surplus by 2021.

"The opposition and crossbenchers share with the government responsibility for the slow progress in balancing the budget and reducing the intergenerational burden of deficits," Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO James Pearson said.

Mr Pearson praised Treasurer Scott Morrison for avoiding the temptation to reach for "economy-crushing" tax increases.

It was now clear a young Australian born in 2008 may need to wait until their teenage years before they experience a budget surplus.

"Prolonged budget deficits mean long into their adulthood, that child will be paying the price for the collective reluctance of our current generation of politicians to make the tough decisions needed to curb spending," he said.

Trade unions say the government still refuses to acknowledge it has a revenue problem and continues to squib tax reform.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver criticised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for delivering spending cuts that hit ordinary Australians, as well as presiding over an economy in reverse.

"Mr Turnbull could give all Australians some good news ahead of Christmas and outline a plan for growth based on more well paid, secure jobs," he said.

The Business Council of Australia said the budge update was another reality check for the parliament that the nation could not afford to spend what it couldn't afford.

"They must decide whether we continue to muddle along and sleepwalk into lower living standards for the Australian community, or seize the opportunity to deliver a stronger budget and economy to underpin higher living standards," chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

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