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Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says a proposal to give union delegates paid leave to attend training would cost Australian businesses $1.3 billion if extended to all members.

Labor insists the government is mounting a scare campaign against the proposal for delegates to receive training ahead of the plan being put forward at the ALP national conference next week.

‘It’s a $1.3 billion hit on business that will put jobs at risk. It’s just another example of … Bill Shorten will always prioritise the interests of his union buddies ahead of the public interest,’ Senator Cormann told Sky News on Friday.