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Federal election tax brawl heats up

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is fighting back against Labor’s claim that Australians earning up to $125,000 will get the same tax cuts or better if it won the election than they would under the coalition.

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“There couldn’t be a more false statement,” he has told Sky News today.

Labor has vowed to match the government’s tax cuts plan up to $125,000 in its first term if it forms government after the May 18 poll.

But Frydenberg said Labor’s promise did not take into account the increased burden the party will put on housing investors and others who would be affected by its plans to end some tax breaks.

“Labor is offering increased taxes; we’re cutting people’s taxes.”

The coalition is out selling its tax cuts, releasing a series of examples of how they will affect workers in 2024/25.

According to the government’s analysis, a worker earning $59,000 would be $542 a year better off while someone on $176,000 could pay $11,739 less in income tax by the middle of next decade.

An early childhood worker would be better off by $943 a year under the coalition’s plan than under Labor.

Labor argues the coalition’s plan is unfair because it means everyone earning between $45,000 and $200,000 will be on the same 30 per cent tax rate by 2024/25.

But Frydenberg said that measure was aimed at reducing bracket creep – when inflation in wages pushes people into higher tax brackets – and thus benefit lower and middle-income earners.

The progressive nature of Australia’s tax system would also be maintained, he said, with the top five per cent of taxpayers footing about a third of the nation’s tax bill.

The opposition has also called the coalition’s tax plan “reckless”, saying the government can’t know what the economic conditions will be in mid-2025.

“People will have to re-elect the coalition two more times to see the tax cuts,” opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers told ABC TV.

Frydenberg wasn’t concerned about potential economic challenges ahead, saying budgets are designed to prepare for them.

“That’s the whole purpose of a budget,” he told ABC Radio National.

-AAP

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