New Finance Minister Katy Gallagher says discussions with her department since the weekend have revealed there weren't too many fiscal rules in place in the final term of the coalition government.
Senator Gallagher and Treasurer Jim Chalmers were sworn in on Monday after Saturday's election win by Labor and have been in briefings with departmental officials since the weekend.
Dr Chalmers said the budget situation that Labor is inheriting from the Liberal Party is of "serious concern".
"For almost a decade now we've had budgets determined solely by political outcomes and not economic outcomes and that's what Katy and I desperately want to change," the treasurer told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
Labor intends to release its first budget in October, but will also delivery an economic update when parliament resumes in June or July.
"On my early briefings I'd say there weren't too many fiscal rules in place in the final terms of this (coalition) government," Senator Gallagher told reporters.
"So we do see large pockets of money being allocated places without a lot of detail and that's certainly an area of significant interest for us."
Dr Chalmers said it is their objective is to make sure Australians get "bang for the buck" for the taxes they pay in the budget.
He expects it will take generations to pay down $1 trillion in debt and is not getting ahead of himself in projecting a balanced budget in the next decade.
"We have seen that movie before. Our predecessors promised surpluses in the first year and every year. We are not going to make that mistake," Dr Chalmers said.
"What we will commit to is doing the hard work, line by line in the budget, to improve the quality of the budget as a first step and then ideally to improve the bottom line beyond that."
Australian Associated Press
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