Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan's sixth budget has no big election-year sweeteners, no harsh austerity and no more free parking for thousands of Canberra public sector workers.
In what is likely to be his final budget, Mr Swan spruiked $43 billion in savings and tax increases, including axing 1200 public sector jobs, as he outlined Labor's ''smarter and fairer'' plan to turn an $18 billion deficit into a balanced budget in three years.
National measures include dumping the ''unsustainable'' baby bonus, scrapping some family benefits, deferring tax cuts, a crackdown on corporate tax breaks and loopholes and raising the Medicare levy.
In Canberra, bureaucrats commuting by car to their jobs in and around the Parliamentary Triangle will be forced to pay for parking from next year, in an end to decades of tradition.
Tourists visiting national institutions are also set to be slugged.
A blitz on public service management numbers, more cuts to the rank-and-file, and less spending in the university sector will add to the capital's pain.
Finance Minister Penny Wong's surprise decision to impose paid parking in the triangle and nearby areas from July 2014 will hit thousands of public servants and visitors who have enjoyed free car spaces in Barton, Parkes, Russell and Acton.
Wage savings of $148 million over four years through ''more efficient management structures in the Australian Public Service'' are squarely targeted at the bureaucratic bosses at executive and senior executive level and will be felt keenly in Canberra.
Across the service, Centrelink and Medicare are expected to bear the brunt of a net loss of 1262 public servants but the efficiency dividend for 2013-2014 has been reduced from 4 per cent to 1.25 per cent.
Canberra's cooling building sector will find little cheer in a mere $300,000 in new federal infrastructure spending in and around the capital.
The city's university sector will feel the squeeze as $2.3 billion is ripped out of the sector and diverted to pay for the Gonski school reforms.
With many of the budget's big-ticket items announced before Tuesday's lock-up at Parliament House, Mr Swan tried to keep the emphasis on Labor's big reforms, the $14.8 billion DisabilityCare and its $9.8 billion Gonski education plans.
Both reforms are funded for their first 10 years, which will deter meddling by a new government if Labor is defeated at the September election, as polls predict, though the Gonski spending will not begin until 2014 and still depends on the agreement of rebellious state governments.
Mr Swan's target of a return to a balanced budget in 2015-2016 and a surplus the following year is likely to be greeted with scepticism by critics, with projected revenue for the next four years collapsing by $60 billion.
In his press conference, Mr Swan said the unusual move to fund Labor's ''historic'' disability and educational plans was about locking in the reforms.
''This budget funds DisabilityCare for the next 10 years and beyond, that is a necessary and very substantial achievement,'' he said.
''This budget funds the national plan for school improvement for the next 10 years and beyond.
''These are the most important reforms the country will undertake in a generation and this budget locks them in.''
Mr Swan blamed the high Australian dollar for the $60 billion collapse in projected tax revenue.
''While our economy remains strong, there have been unprecedented economic circumstances that have taken an enormous toll on government revenues, on government taxation,'' he said.
''The high dollar has had a much more acute impact on prices and profits than anybody anticipated this time last year.''
Asked why there were no ''election bribes'' in the budget, Mr Swan cited Labor's disability and education reforms as having ''something big'' for every Australian family.
''If we're going to put these reforms in and make a difference to the future of Australia, then let's do it and that's what we've done in this budget,'' he said.
''So when you say there's nothing in this, this is a huge change to education in Australia. I reject the notion that there's nothing in this, there is something big in this for Australia and there is something big in this for every Australian family.''
Mr Swan said he accepted there would be unhappiness about the scrapping of the baby bonus but that the payment had to be ''targeted''.
Payments will be wrapped into the family tax benefits scheme, with an income cut-off of about $112,000 for a two-child family.
''We decided the best policy for our country was simply to abolish it and roll the additional benefits into Family Tax Benefit Part A, which is what we are doing,'' Mr Swan said.
''We understand that there will be some people who will be unhappy with this decision but we think this is in the interests of maintaining over time, a very substantial commitment to family payments.''