Joint Media Release with the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, and the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen.
Today Labor is announcing a substantial package of savings measures to pay for our priorities and deliver on our commitment to responsible, long-term budget repair.
We are announcing $16.2 billion in new and updated budget improvements over the medium term.
Labor’s net budget improvements to date now amount to $105.4 billion over the medium term.
Labor has a positive plan for Australia’s future, and a clear plan to pay for it.
The hard choices we have made will ensure a Labor Government can fund our positive policies, return the budget to balance and protect middle and working class families.
The Liberals have tripled the deficit, added $100 billion to net debt and smashed the household budgets of Australian families.
The Liberals’ deep and unfair cuts will damage confidence, weaken growth and put the economy at risk.
Under our responsible plan for budget repair, we will reduce the deficit every year and return the budget to balance in the same year as the Liberal Party.
Today’s savings package includes:
- Updates to existing budget repair measures.
- New measures for budget repair.
- Resolving several unlegislated budget measures.
UPDATES TO EXISTING BUDGET REPAIR MEASURES
Labor has been announcing budget repair measures over the last two years to improve the budget and support our investments in schools and Medicare.
Today we are announcing a $10.1 billion improvement to previously-announced budget measures, as a result of 2016-17 Budget update. This includes boosts to our negative gearing and capital gains reforms, and VET-FEE HELP loan caps.
Labor’s announced savings from these measures now total $122 billion over the medium term.
NEW MEASURES FOR BUDGET REPAIR
Labor is today announcing a further $6.1 billion in budget improvements through measures that better target the Private Health Insurance rebate, reduce wasteful spending and better target family payments.
These measures have been designed to limit the impact on the household budgets of low and middle income families.
New measures include:
- $3.0 billion from better targeting the PHI rebate over the medium term, by continuing the Government’s 2016-17 threshold freeze and removing the rebate from natural therapies.
- Reforming Industry Growth Centres, saving $0.5 billion over the medium term.
- Re-directing DFAT spending to other budget priorities, including the abolition of the Innovation Xchange which focussed on purchasing bean bags. This saves $0.4 billion over the medium term.
RESOLVING UNLEGISLATED BUDGET MEASURES
Labor will also resolve the Government’s unlegislated measures, finally drawing a line under Tony Abbott’s disastrous and unfair 2014 budget.
We will support some measures in order to fund our priorities and improve the budget bottom line, including:
- Changes to the R&D Tax Incentive, with a positive budget impact of $2.8 billion over the medium term.
- Higher Education Indexation Revised Arrangements, with a positive budget impact of $3.6 billion over the medium term.
- Reforms to the Higher Education Loan Programme, changing repayment thresholds and ceasing the HECS-HELP benefit, with a positive budget impact of $0.3 billion over the medium term.
Labor believes that the Government’s budget mess shouldn’t be fixed by smashing the family budget. Labor will reverse the Government’s Family Tax Benefit measures and introduce modest measures to better target family payments.
Labor will tighten the means test on FTB-A end-of-year supplements, reducing the payment by 50 per cent for families with incomes over $100,000. Labor will also continue the pause on top income thresholds for Family Tax Benefits.
Labor will also reverse many of the harsh and unfair measures that remain in Malcolm Turnbull’s budget. These include:
- Reversing the Divorce Tax.
- Reversing the increase in the Age Pension age to 70, and cuts to pensioners who travel overseas to visit their families.
- Reversing the Government’s cuts to the Medicare safety net.
- Reversing the Government’s cuts to working age payments.
The net impact of Labor’s decision on these unlegislated measures is a negative impact of $5.5 billion over the forward estimates, and $23 billion over the medium term.
Labor’s plan for budget repair is credible, sustainable and fair.
Unlike the Liberals, we will protect middle and working class families. Australian families will be better off under Labor.
We are outlining our budget repair measures well in advance of election day and seeking a mandate from the Australian people.
The Liberals lied to Australians before the last election and broke their promises after the election.
Labor is being upfront and honest about our priorities, and the choices we are making.
By making these difficult decisions, Labor can fund better schools, protect Medicare and invest in nation-building, job-creating infrastructure.
These are hard choices, but they are the right choices for Australia’s future.
The Australian people have a clear choice this election.
Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals will cut schools and destroy Medicare, while recklessly spending $50 billion on a tax break for banks and big business.
A Shorten Labor Government will responsibly repair the budget, invest in schools, save Medicare and protect middle and working class families.