Budget 2018: Election battlelines drawn, with Labor’s tax plan labelled ‘unbelieva-Bill’



May 11, 2018 16:24:51

Both major political parties have laid out their pre-election budget plans, showing tax cuts are on the horizon no matter who wins government.

Key points:

  • Bill Shorten says Labor’s plan would see middle-income earners $400 better off
  • Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison say Labor’s plan is “unbelieva-Bill”
  • Tanya Plibersek also spruiked $9 billion university plan

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten last night delivered Labor’s economic blueprint should it win the next election, promising to almost double the Coalition’s promised tax break for low and middle-income earners.

Labor estimates the “Working Australians Tax Refund” would cost the Commonwealth $5.8 billion over the next four years.

The Opposition has said it would support the Coalition’s planned reform package in 2018-19, which promises tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners, and start its plan from the next financial year.

Mr Shorten said his party’s tax reform would benefit 10 million Australians, with those earning less than $125,000 a year set to receive more than under the Coalition’s plan.

Those earning between $50,000 and $90,000 would get a rebate of $928 under the Opposition’s plan — almost $400 more than under the Government.

Labor claims it is fairer than the Government’s proposal, which some economists have suggested favours high-income earners in the long term due to indexing and wage increases.

Mr Shorten claimed he had made the “hard decisions” in developing a plan that would have better tax breaks for low- and middle-income earners.

But Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have today labelled Mr Shorten’s plan “unbelieva-Bill”.

The Coalition has questioned Labor’s plan to fund the tax breaks, describing it as unrealistic.

Mr Shorten also promised to abandon the Coalition’s planned corporate tax cuts and to reverse cuts to universities and the TAFE system.

A $2.8 billion injection to boost hospitals and reduced surgical waiting times was announced, as well as a bigger commitment to more aged care beds than the Coalition.

The Opposition Leader also promised to reverse the $84 million funding freeze to the ABC.

Both parties were also bidding on bringing the budget back into balance by 2019-20.

But it has boiled down to clashes over tax, with Labor and the Coalition criticising one another over their respective tax plans.

Multi-billion-dollar plan to boost universities

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said Labor would invest $9 billion to meet university education demands.

Labor has vowed to create extra university places over the next 12 years based on a “demand-driven model”.

Ms Plibersek said Labor would also conduct an extensive review into post-secondary school education if elected.

“It’s a $9 billion cost over the next decade, it is a substantial investment in our university sector,” Ms Plibersek said.

She said it would cost $140 million in the forward estimates period because of an expected increase in demand.

Labor also proposed funding 100,000 TAFE places with no upfront fees to help reverse cuts and address looming skills shortages, especially in the disability and aged care sector.

It would provide $470 million as part of the TAFE package, with promises to upgrade facilities.

One in 10 jobs on Commonwealth priority projects would also be apprentices under Labor’s proposal.









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