Reuters International

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (not pictured) in Sydney February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed on Wednesday that he would call an election within the next week to be held on July 2, looking to cash in on a budget plan aimed at creating jobs and spurring growth.

The conservative government delivered a spending plan on Tuesday that effectively doubled as the launch of its election campaign, after Turnbull said he planned to use a political deadlock over industrial relations to dissolve parliament.

The Liberal-National coalition, which returned to power in 2013, has lost its lead against the opposition Labor party in the latest polls, with the two sides now running neck-and-neck, but Turnbull said he expected to win.

"I am quietly confident that the Australian people will give us another term in government," he said on Channel 9 TV.

"You can expect there to be an election on the second of July," Turnbull said in an interview on Australia Broadcasting Corp radio, adding that he would call the poll "between now and the 11th of May."

The government handed down its budget the same day that the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to a record low of 1.75 percent, seeking to restrain a rising currency and stem deflation.

Turnbull said the move made sense given that inflation was below the central bank's target band.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by G Crosse, Toni Reinhold)

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