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Fed: People confused over govt's approach to economy: Turnbull

05 May 2009 5:50 PM

SYDNEY, May 5 AAP - Australians are worried the federal government's debt will stop the economy recovering from the downturn, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull says.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said on Tuesday the federal budget will be in deficit for a longer period of time than initially expected due to the global economic downturn.

The Ten Network later said a government source had confirmed that Mr Swan's comment meant the budget would remain in deficit for at least six years and the 2009/10 deficit would be "approaching $70 billion".

Mr Turnbull said the government embarked on a spending spree when it announced its stimulus package last October, none of which was spent on infrastructure projects.

Australians wanted to see value in the government's borrowing, he said.

"They're in a state of confusion and that undermines confidence and of course it provides all Australians with a very deep concern that our ability to recover from this downturn ... is going to be hindered and held back by an unsustainable level of Labor debt," he said.