Tonight’s Budget Reply speech by Bill Shorten offers some policy ideas for the future but makes little headway on the structural changes needed to contain the growth in government spending, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.
James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber, said: “Australian households and businesses will lose out if our political leaders engage in a bidding war for higher taxes.
“It is concerning to hear the Opposition Leader argue for higher taxes – in the forms of continuing the deficit levy on households and not reducing company tax, as well as backing the Government’s bank levy and some of the Government’s Medicare levy increase – after years blocking savings efforts that will reduce the deficit.
“The Opposition has been willing to offer policy solutions in the past, so needs to move beyond the extra taxes Mr Shorten spoke about tonight.
“We are pleased Mr Shorten has made some effort to identify savings, though note that many of his proposals will be one-off savings rather than the structural changes the Budget needs.
“All sides of politics need to work together to find ways to make vital government programs sustainable by ensuring they are appropriately targeted.
“Australia cannot afford the political gridlock of recent years to continue. The business community is looking to our political leaders to confront our most vexing national problems. Political brinkmanship will be damaging to business and consumer confidence, discouraging businesses from growing and creating jobs.”