Bill Shorten says Labor will only back the government’s 0.5 per cent increase to the Medicare levy to Australians in the top two tax brackets, who earn upwards of $87,000.
The federal opposition leader has also committed to keeping the coalition’s budget repair levy on high-income earners, and says his party will back a $6.2 billion tax on the big banks.
Mr Shorten says independent costings show his plan to hit the rich with a Medicare hike will deliver more revenue than the government’s plan over the medium term without burdening families earning modest incomes.
“This is the fair and responsible way forward,” Mr Shorten said during his budget reply speech on Thursday night.
He said the Turnbull government’s proposed Medicare levy hike would hit people earning as little as $21,000 and see a worker earning $55,000 pay an extra $275 per year.
“Labor cannot support making people on modest incomes give up more of their pay packet, especially when this budget goes out of its way to give taxpayer money to millionaires and multinationals,” he said.
Treasurer Scott Morrison’s second budget signalled the end to the two per cent budget deficit levy, which was temporarily put in place in 2014 to help balance the books.
But Labor believes it is not the time to remove the levy, because the deficit for 2017/18 is 10 times worse than predicted in the Liberals’ first budget.
Mr Shorten later told the ABC a future Labor government would consider scrapping the deficit levy once the budget reached a surplus.