NEW England MP Barnaby Joyce has warned uncontracted promises for local projects could be sacrificed as the federal government prepares for an austerity budget this month.
But Mr Joyce assured residents big-ticket contracted promises, such as the Chaffey Dam upgrade, would be honoured.
He said the “fiscal mess” the government inherited from Labor meant it had little option but to slash expenditure.
“I don’t think any of us are going to be popular the day after the budget,” Mr Joyce said.
“We could carry on as we are going but in five or six years the debate would be about closing down hospitals and schools and losing roads ... that’s exactly where we are heading.
“I wish we had turned it around in 2009 when I started to bring it to people’s attention as shadow finance minister but I lost that job.”
He said delivering on uncontracted promises in the New England would be “tough”.
“It’s going to be a tough budget and uncontracted promises are going to be tough to secure,” Mr Joyce said.
The Abbott government has been warning for months the federal budget faces years of deficits and urgent action is required to get on top of the problem.
Tamworth ALP branch secretary Garry Ryan said the government had itself to blame for its budgetary woes.
“They went to the last election with a whole heap of promises and they were satisfied at that time the budget was in a satisfactory position where they could meet them,” Mr Ryan said.
“The prime minister said repeatedly, no new taxes, no impact on social security and no other burdens on the community.”