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'Better days ahead', vows Treasurer Scott Morrison

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Treasurer Scott Morrison has vowed that there are "better days ahead", speaking at a doorstop interview in Canberra ahead of the release of the 2017 Federal Budget.

While Morrison refused to be drawn on reported changes to welfare, including the possible introduction of a demerit system, he acknowledged that some Australians feel left behind by the nation's economic growth.

"We understand that many other Australians feel frustrated that they're not getting as ahead in the way they would like to," he said.

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"We understand that, and we understand that when wage growth has not been strong, that you feel the pinch of costs of living more. That the services that you rely on you feel more and it's important that a government understands those pressures on Australians and families."

According to The Daily Telegraph, the demerit system would see welfare recipients docked for failing to attend job interviews, with repeat offenders having payments cut off.

Welfare reform is expected to be a key element of tonight's Federal Budget, the second from this Treasurer.

Morrison said the future of Australia's AAA credit rating was a matter "for the agencies to determine", but said the Budget "would address both the fiscal challenges [and] the nation's challenges."

"What we have to do is continue to get debt under control," said Morrison.

Healthcare and housing were also fundamental to this year's Budget, he said.

"If you're a young family who's had to put off buying a house because they can't keep up, they can't save fast enough, well, housing's an important issue to you. And so you can expect me to seek to address those issues tonight."

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Sharyn McCowen is Money's online producer. She has a degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University, and was a newspaper reporter before moving to magazines and finance.
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