Labor has urged the coalition to speed up major infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy, while accusing the government of “smoke and mirrors” on spending.
The opposition’s infrastructure spokeswoman Catherine King says the government should recalibrate its agenda to quell economic headwinds.
She said the coalition had made a “pretty weird” claim that $13 billion would be spent on infrastructure when $6 billion was listed in the budget.
“There’s a bit of smoke and mirrors happening here,” Ms King told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated infrastructure is one of the government’s main priorities after getting a $158 billion income tax cut package through parliament last week.
The economy has been in the spotlight after the Reserve Bank cut the official cash rate to a record low of just one per cent last week.
The central bank cited the need to reduce the unemployment rate and help lift the inflation rate toward the two-to-three per cent target band.
“We need to stimulate the economy,” Ms King said.
“The plan has been tax cuts – they got that through.
“We thought that they needed to do better on that to get money there now and now it’s time to look at infrastructure and we’re calling on them to do that.”
Ms King also floated raising the dole to boost the economy, despite Labor failing to commit to raising Newstart during the election campaign.
“I don’t think that there’s any politician in the country, certainly no Labor politician thinks that the rate of Newstart is OK, that it is a liveable income,” she said.
“It simply is not.”
She said Mr Morrison “flat batted” a question about raising the welfare payment in parliament last week.
“I don’t think that there is politician in the country who could say that they could live on Newstart. Frankly, it is too low,” Ms King said.
“The government’s basically just pretending that there’s no issue here.”
The opposition previously committed to reviewing Newstart but is now looking at almost all of its positions in the wake of a crushing election defeat.