FEDERAL Labor has confirmed the party's election commitments will cost the budget bottom line an extra $7.4 billion, as the opposition invests in childcare and clean energy while attempting to crack down on excessive regional spending in marginal seats.
While the LNP promised a surplus of $1 billion over the next four years in their pre-election budget last month, the Labor party claim the coalition's spendings are rife with "pork-barreling and wastage".
Labor's key cost saving measure will be to cut the "unregulated and mismanaged" Regionalisation fund and Community Development Grants fund by $750 million.
Speaking in Bendigo on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said the funding cuts were synonymous with the party's disregard for the regions.
"It just goes to show you that the Labor Party has got no vision for regional Australia," Mr Joyce told Sky News.
"The regionalisation fund is so regional communities can pick the industry that takes them ahead, whether that is tourism, whether that's manufacturing, to get better-paying jobs into regional Australia.
"But the Labor Party, if it's not an art gallery in Sydney, just doesn't see past the city limits."
However, federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said while those specific schemes will be cut under a Labor government, regional areas will not miss out on funding.
"Those funds will still exist," she said, "Labor will have a fund, like the Building Better Regions fund, but there'll be the oversight that once existed, but under this government got scrapped."
Funding commitments already made by the government through those funds will not be reversed - including the $4.5 million for the Bendigo airport upgrade.
"They aren't good at bookkeeping as we know," she said, "their current budget is riddled with rorts and waste."
The cornerstone of the government's cost saving measures is an increased "efficiency dividend" which would see public sector spending cut by almost $2 billion.
"Efficiency dividend is just code for cutting staff from the public service," Ms Chesters said.
"That means less people working at Centrelink, less people working for the Department of Veterans Affairs, less people working to keep our government going."
As the country plunges into nearly $1 trillion worth of net debt - regardless of the outcome of the election, Ms Chesters said the quality of spending policies from both sides of politics were more important than the difference in spending costs.
"The current (coalition) budget is riddled with frauds, and riddled with waste," she said.
"We will have a budget in October to help clean up the waste that exists.
"We'll re divert those funds to much needed projects, like extra funding to strengthen Medicare, like cheaper child care, like ensuring that aged care is fixed."
Speaking in Canberra on Thursday, shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said Labor's costings were "modest" and "measured".
"The modest $7.4 billion difference between the two budgets is made up of key investments in childcare, investments in training and education, and investments in cleaner and cheaper energy," he said.
However, the Liberals are keen to focus on Labor's higher spending figures - Liberal candidate for Bendigo Darin Schade said the release of Labor's costings so close to election day was a strategic move.
"It is no surprise that an Albanese government proposes to burden the Australian people with even more debt to pay for their policies," he said.
"It is also no surprise that they wanted 40 per cent of people to have voted before announcing just how much they intend to spend."
Two days out from the federal election, the numbers game continued as the ABS confirmed the national unemployment rate has hit 3.9 per cent, - the first time in monthly recorded history the rate has dipped below 4 per cent.
The latest Newspoll data shows Labor (54%) leading the coalition (46%) in the two-party-preferred vote.
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