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Savings this week, costings next: Abbott

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Tony Abbott says the Coalition will have more to say about budget savings this week, but maintains the Opposition’s full costings won’t be released until the final week of the campaign.

With less than a fortnight before the September 7 election, the Opposition Leader today faced repeated questions about when the Coalition would release its costings.

“We’ve already identified $17 billion worth of savings,” Abbott told the Seven Network.

“There’s quite a lot of savings detail out there already.”

But pressed on when the Opposition would provide more detail on promises, Abbott said: “We’ll have more to say about savings this week”.

“We won’t be able to reveal the absolute final fiscal position until all of our policies are on the table, and that will be the final week,” he said.

In a morning television and radio blitz a day after the Liberal campaign launch in Brisbane, Abbott was asked whether the opposition was suffering a “details deficit” because of its failure to release its costings.

“Our policies, our costings have gone through the parliamentary budget office, and they’re fully costed, they’re fully funded,” Abbott told ABC radio.

“In good time before polling day, people will know exactly how much better under the coalition we expect the budget bottom line to be.”

The Opposition Leader was also quizzed on his pledge, made at the campaign launch, that the budget would be “on track to a believable surplus” by the end of a first term Coalition government.

Abbott said the surplus target would depend on the financial situation facing a coalition government.

“We know from the government that the budget position was deteriorating to the tune of $3 billion a week between May and July,” he said.

“With those sorts of factors at play, we just don’t know what the starting point is.

“If the current projections turn out to be correct, we will do better than Labor. That means we will have a surplus by 2016/17.”

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