Budget 2018

Labor leader promises bigger tax cuts in budget reply

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Budget 2018: Bill Shorten has detailed Labor's economic counter-attack in his budget reply, promising bigger tax cuts to Australians.

A Labor government would give Australians bigger tax cuts and sooner, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised in his budget reply speech.

In parliament on Thursday night, Mr Shorten committed to effectively double the tax cut the Coalition unveiled in its budget on Tuesday.

Under the Coalition’s proposal, there will be tax relief for Australians earning up to $90,000 a year to the tune of $530 a year for about four million Australians.

“It is a time for a fair dinkum tax cut for middle-class and working-class Australians,” Mr Shorten said.

“In our first Budget, we will deliver a bigger, better and fairer tax cut for 10 million working Australians. Almost double, in fact, what the government offered on Tuesday.”

The Opposition leader didn’t elaborate much further on the policy, but said it would have concrete outcomes for Australians.

“In our first term of government, a teacher earning $65,000 will be $2,780 better off under Labor, an extra $928 each year," he said.

"A married couple, one serving in our defence forces, earning $90,000 and the other working in aged care on $50,000 will be $5,564 better off under Labor. A combined $1,855 extra each year under Labor,” he said to applause from his Labor colleagues.

In a classic Labor blueprint, Mr Shorten committed to spend billions on education and hospitals, too.

He unveiled a $2.8 billion hospital fund which he said would result in more hospital beds, reduced waiting times for patients and more MRI machines.

He also committed to spending $17 billion in a schools fund which would uncap 200,000 university places and scrap the upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students.

Australians will deliver their verdict on the budget reply sooner than the next federal election.

With three of its MPs being forced to resign this week as a result of the dual citizenship saga, and another resigning last week due to family reasons, the party is preparing to contest four by-elections in the coming months.

Mr Shorten said his party would take its budget plan ‘house by house’.

“This nation needs a leader that gets it. It needs a party with a plan for the future. That is what we deliver, that is our promise.”

The Finance Minister Mathias Cormann mocked Labor’s plans immediately after the chamber emptied.
“Labor hasn't delivered a surplus since 1989,” Minister Cormann said.

“This was not an alternative plan.”

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