Debt will burden Australians for generations in a "$100 billion missed opportunity", Opposition treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers will say on Wednesday.

Tax cuts are also shaping up to be a big election issue, with Mr Chalmers accusing the government of "baking in" concessions for high-come earners through its planned stage 3 tax cuts.

Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Mr Chalmers will say the delayed vaccine rollout was holding the country's recovery to ransom.

 

He said that while the federal budget, released last week, increased spending by almost $100 billion, there would not be "long-term economic" benefits from it.

"This is in addition to baking-in the Stage 3 tax cuts for high‑income earners, at a cost to the bottom line of over $130 billion," Mr Chalmers will say.

"When the Treasurer airily says he's funding all this from growth he really means from debt."

Referring to former Treasurer Wayne Swan, who he worked for before entering politics, Mr Chalmers will say the global financial crisis was an example of when circumstances demand deficit budgets.

"What we are interested in is the quality of the spend and the value of the investment," he will say.

"Labor's position is straightforward: borrowing should be invested in projects and programs that create secure jobs and opportunities, drive broad and inclusive growth, and deliver long-term value for money."

The $94 billion in increased spending in the budget included $18 billion for aged care, $2.3 billion in mental health programs and $7.8 billion for a one-off tax cut of up to $1080 for 10 million people earning up to $90,000, as well as more instant asset write offs for businesses and new infrastructure projects.

Stage 3 tax cuts, which kick in from July 2024, are shaping up as an electoral battleground for the next poll.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has challenged Labor over its lack of a position on stage 3 tax cuts. Picture: NCA NewsWire / James Gourley
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has challenged Labor over its lack of a position on stage 3 tax cuts. Picture: NCA NewsWire / James Gourley

They left threshold for the top tax rate from $180,000 to $200,000, eliminate one tax bracket and drop the rate of another, so people earning $45,000 to $200,000 will all be paying 30c in the dollar.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week challenged Labor for not having announced its position on the stage 3 tax cuts so far.

"If they were to abandon stage 3 or propose to abandon stage 3, it would mean that somebody on $80,000 a year … would be $900 a year worse off," he said.

Last year, Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said of the stage 3 cuts that it would be "very hard to argue, in the circumstances, for high-end tax cuts".

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Labor blasts Budget's $100bn 'missed opportunity'



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