Coalition to find $2.3 billion in welfare budget savings

THE Coalition says it will find $2.3 billion in "savings" in the nation's welfare budget, through cuts and forcing debt to be paid back, to fund the $1.1 billion it has promised during the campaign.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the overall budget would be $1.1 billion better off after the new savings were taken into account.

The welfare savings will come largely from data matching and integrity measures to make sure welfare recipients pay back any debts owed to the government.

Those savings will go to fund $1.3 billion in mostly small infrastructure grants the government has handed out to largely Coalition-held marginal seats during the campaign.

The Coalition's costings also include some $2.2 billion in "redirected" infrastructure funds that have not been spent yet, but the official costings do not make clear where this money goes.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann would say only that those funds had not been allocated in the May budget and they were now allocated.

Mr Morrison said the government's costings indicated Labor's plans released this week would lead to a $16 billion "worsening of the deficit".

Labor's treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said the Coalition figures did not include some $6.6 billion in "zombie measures" the government had used to prop up the budget, but the Senate refused to pass.

Opposition finance spokesman Tony Burke said the government knew those measures, including further welfare cuts, "would never pass the parliament", even in the new parliament.

A raft of economists have said neither party has a credible plan to address structural problems with the federal budget.


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