Business

Shorten chasing politics of envy:Treasurer

Treasurer Scott Morrison has accused Bill Shorten of giving up on trying to grow the economy. (AAP)

Treasurer Scott Morrison has hit back at Bill Shorten's push to tackle inequality, saying his tax plans show he's given up on growing the economy.

A new International Monetary Fund report highlights why the Reserve Bank is optimistic about the economic outlook but it hasn't stopped the major parties arguing who is best placed to take Australia forward.

In an update of its April World Economic Outlook, the IMF is sticking with its firm economic projections for global growth.

While it has made a modest downgrade to the US outlook, it has lifted forecasts for Japan and China, Australia's two biggest trading partners.

"The recovery in global growth that we projected in April is on a firmer footing," IMF economic counsellor Maurice Obstfeld said, releasing the report in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

"There is now no question mark over the world economy's gain in momentum."

The IMF predicts the global economy will grow by 3.5 per cent this year and 3.6 per cent in 2018 after the 3.2 per cent expansion in 2016.

This positive outlook came as Treasurer Scott Morrison accused Labor leader Bill Shorten of giving up on trying to grow the Australian economy.

"He's interested in the politics of envy, I'm interested in the economics of opportunity. That's the real difference," Mr Morrison told Sky News.

Mr Shorten has vowed to tackle inequality, insisting it's time to consider the tax reform "too-hard basket".

But the treasurer insists Mr Shorten's "dark economic vision" is for higher personal and company income taxes in 10-years time and denying negative gearing to middle-income earners.

"He has a very flat earth view of the Australian economy," Mr Morrison said.

Labor was also coming after the trusts of farmers and small businesses when the government had already set up a task force within the tax office to look at them.

"This is a guy for whom too much tax is never enough," Mr Morrison told ABC radio.

But Mr Shorten argues the tax system isn't fair and has flagged further tax reform announcements, saying the challenge in the Australian economy is to get the government working for the people.

"Tackling inequality is a growth strategy," he told reporters in Melbourne.

Energy prices were out of control, the dream of home ownership was becoming a "mirage", wages growth was flatlining, penalty rates were been cut and employment had become insecure.

"Australians are worried that they are going to hand on a worse standard of living to the next generation than the one they inherited," Mr Shorten said.

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