CANBERRA, AAP – Anthony Albanese wants to see the state of the budget in May before deciding whether to make scrapping legislated tax cuts in 2024 an election policy.
A federal election is expected later this year or in early 2022.
The opposition leader said when the tax cuts were debated towards the end of 2019, Labor warned of the problems of making policy so far in advance.
“It is really a triumph of hope over experience to say you know what the economy will look like in 2024/25,” Mr Albanese told the Australian Financial Review Business Summit on Wednesday.
“That has been proven to be absolutely correct.”
These tax cuts, the third stage of the Morrison government’s personal tax cutting agenda, are worth some $140 billion.
The tax cuts were passed before the economy went into a recession last year and when the budget was forecast to be in surplus.
As of December, the budget was now in a $197.7 billion deficit in 2020/21 due to lost revenue and the implementation of stimulus measures to fend off the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The mid-year budget review also showed the budget was still expected to be in a $66 billion deficit in 2023/24. Treasury’s prediction for 2024/25 won’t be known until the May 11 budget.
“That is the problem with governments making decisions so far in advance in the absence of proper analysis of where the economy is when those changes come in,” Mr Albanese said.
“I think it was wrong to do that then.”
He said Labor did try to take the stage three tax cuts out of the legislation when it was before parliament because it wasn’t known what condition the economy was going to be in.
“Wasn’t that the truth,” he said.
“The ‘back in black’ mugs are a collector’s item these day, but the fact is, the government said the budget was in surplus … the ultimate triumph over economic fact.”