Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles has defended the Albanese government’s position on the stage three tax cuts, saying it hasn’t gone back on its promise.
Mr Marles said while the government was openly discussing the pressures placed on the budget by areas of growth including defence spending and the NDIS, it would not scrap the tax cuts due in July 2024.
“What we’ve consistently said is that our position on tax has not changed,” he told the ABC.
“I don’t think we could have been clearer than that.
“We’ve been making the point that the budget is under pressure and it’s certainly under pressure looking into the medium and long term.”
Mr Marles, who is also the defence minister, said the government was looking to make defence spending sustainable and as “excellent” as it could be.
“The focus of what we are trying to say today is that the waste that we’ve seen in defence over the last 10 years must come to a stop,” he said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese doubled down, saying his government was not planning on amending the tax cuts.
But the opposition is calling on the prime minister to expressly rule out any future changes.
“Our position hasn’t changed – I’ve said that repeatedly,” Mr Albanese told reporters on Sunday.
“These (tax cuts) are due to come in in 2024. We are producing a budget in October 2022.”
He said the government would continue to work alongside the Reserve Bank’s policy to curb inflation and produce a sensible budget that wouldn’t add to inflationary pressure, as central banks around the world hike interest rates at unprecedented speed.
“At that time fiscal policy should work in concert with (monetary policy) not against it,” Mr Albanese said.
“That’s the context in which we are framing a budget.”
Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor welcomed assurances the tax cuts would remain but wanted Labor to be more explicit.
“We need to see Anthony Albanese ruling out dropping the tax cuts,” he told Sky News.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the prime minister had left the door open to considering changes in the future.
“It seems he is still contemplating it between now and the next election,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program.
Government ministers have consistently run the line that there have been no changes to the policy, but haven’t ruled out discussions about changing the cuts.
“That would be an unforgivable and a ridiculous mistake,” Mr Dutton said.
(Australian Associated Press)