Bill Shorten's Budget reply likely to be a scorcher
BILL Shorten is expected to outline whether Labor will support a hike in the Medicare levy in his formal reply to Scott Morrison's 2017 budget tonight.
The proposed 0.5 per cent increase to the levy from 2019 will cost the average worker an extra $400 per year.
For a worker earning $50,000 annually, it'll be an extra $250 per year.
Labor has yet to confirm whether it will support the hike included in the 2017 budget which will cover a $3.8 billion gap in funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
When the scheme is fully operational in 2020, it will cost $21 billion and is forecast to provide care for 460,000 Australians who have a severe disability.
Mr Morrison has said he doesn't want a political fight over the funding.
It's likely Mr Shorten will also clarify the Opposition's position on a plan to drug test welfare recipients.
So far Labor has not ruled out backing the trial to drug test 5000 new welfare recipients, although Mr Shorten did not seem overly sold on it.
"They've never seen a welfare recipient who they don't want to sort of demonise and we're not just going to join in the baiting of the unemployed," he told Sky News yesterday.
Fairfax Media reports Mr Shorten is expected to announce a crackdown on "loopholes for millionaires" as well.
Labor will propose to set a limit on how much people can deduct for managing their tax affairs of $3000.
The crackdown would reportedly raise $1.8 billion over a decade and would affect less than 1 per cent of taxpayers.
Labor has already been on the attack over confirmation in the budget that a two per cent deficit levy on annual incomes over $180,000 will come to an end.
Mr Shorten has accused Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of giving millionaires a tax cut by ending the levy.
He will also tonight outline Labor's position on the Turnbull Government's housing package, which doesn't touch negative gearing or capital gains tax but includes measures for first home buyers, downsizers and renters.
The package will allow first home buyers to make voluntary contributions into their superannuation savings, which are taxed at a reduced rate, to help them build a deposit faster.
It will also include help for downsizers over the age of 65, who will be able to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 into their super fund from the process of the sale of the family home.