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Labor pledges balanced budget by 2021


Labor has pledged to match the Coalition’s target for a balanced budget but flagged bigger deficits between now and 2021.

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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will launch his party’s 10 year economic growth plan in Brisbane today.

Ahead of its release, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen confirmed Labor’s aim was to return the budget to balance at the same time the Coalition is predicting.

But when pressed about the size of Labor deficits over the next four years, he told ABC radio: “It’s true that we won’t have the same degree of fiscal contraction.”

The government unsurprisingly jumped on that admission with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann accusing Bowen of using “weasel words”.

“Labor promising to bring the budget back into balance … nobody can believe that based on their past performance,” he said.

The government also has more ammunition to attack Labor over its opposition to planned corporate tax cuts.

Modelling by Independent Economics shows Australia stands to gain a consumer benefit from the $48.2 billion plan.

It suggests for every dollar in the tax burden eased on business there will be long-term economic gains of as much as $2.39.

“If you lower the tax on investment you get more investment,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Alan Jones on radio 2GB.

“If you get more investment you get more jobs.”

Turnbull is on the NSW south coast where he will campaign alongside Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis in the marginal seat of Gilmore.

At Ulladulla, he will pledge $358,000 to fund a respite centre for young people with disabilities.

A further $790,000 will be offered for the Ulladulla harbour upgrade project, which includes a new floating pontoon.

The prime minister is also spruiking federal government-funded high definition security cameras as he shines a light on mental health and suicide in his seat of Wentworth in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

“Gap Park is the place where more people take their life than anywhere else in Australia,” he writes in an opinion piece for his local newspaper the Wentworth Courier.

Turnbull will leave Shorten to face undecided voters in Brisbane alone on Wednesday night, declining to attend the Sky News people’s forum.

He has proposed a Facebook debate next week instead.

For support and information about suicide prevention, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467


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