Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has warned that everyone will feel the pinch to help repair the budget.
Treasury figures show the budget would remain in deficit for the next decade if left unchecked, and that under Labor, spending growth was larger than the two per cent promised, and as much as six per cent in 2017-18.
Mr Hockey said that would result in 16 years of deficits even though Australia did not go into recession and it was not expected to.
Related: Budget will not hinder growth, says Hockey
"Unless we take immediate remedial action in the budget then Australia will never have a surplus," he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
"We have to address this and address this fast."
He warned that if budget deficits were allowed to continue and debt increased, Australia's standard of living would be lower.
There would be hard decisions and everyone would have to help to do the heavy lifting in fixing the budget, Mr Hockey said.
"If the burden falls on a few, the weight of that burden will crush them," he said.
He said there was no easy fix or silver bullet, and fixing the budget would go beyond his first on May 13 to those in subsequent years.
Related: What Hockey has flagged so far
Labor had left the government with "massive" spending increases in foreign aid and defence, and a poorly introduced National Disability Insurance Scheme.
"If we don't get on top of the proper management of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, not only would it not be sustainable, but it could end up as big a farce as the pink batts program or the $900 cheques program," he told ABC radio.
The treasurer said the ageing population was also putting pressure on the budget.
Asked if it was sustainable to give a part pension to those with assets of more than a million dollars, Mr Hockey said "that's something that obviously needs to be taken into account".
Mr Hockey is due to receive the final report from the commission of audit into government spending on Monday.
He told Sky News the government had to go through the detail of the report, but he promised to release it as soon as possible and in a timeframe less than the four months it took to release then Henry tax review in 2010.