Malcolm Turnbull reiterated tax relief for middle-income families was his next priority.Malcolm Turnbull anticipates wages will pick up over the next year as the economy continues to expand and demand for workers heats up.
Wages growth was stuck at the lowest level in at least two decades at around two per cent, and only a shade above inflation, when employment and company profits soared over the past year.
“You’ll see that over the next year and following, as long as you get continued economic growth, you will see more demand for labour, and that will see wages move up,” the prime minister told ABC TV’s Insiders on Sunday.
Mr Turnbull also reiterated tax relief for middle-income families was the next priority for his government.
However, taxpayers shouldn’t assume they would get one this year, even if it was announced in the May budget.
“How much we can do and the timing depends on the budget, because of course, we’re committed to bringing it back into balance by 2020/21,” Mr Turnbull said.
However, there was more positive news on Friday as the latest monthly government financial statement showed the budget deficit was running smaller than had been anticipated.
In December, the deficit stood at $21.9 billion, almost $2 billion lower than had been anticipated after six months of the 2017/18 financial year.
The deficit was expected to be $23.6 billion for the full-year.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said while the prime minister continues to dangle his income tax cuts rhetoric at every opportunity, he refuses to concede seven million ns will be $1.7 billion a year worse from a rise in the Medicare levy.
“The one thing you can say about Malcolm Turnbull on tax is that at least he’s been consistent,” Mr Bowen said in a statement.
“Dolling out income tax cuts to high-income earners, company tax cuts for big business, and protecting tax concessions for the wealthiest, while punishing low and middle-income earners with higher income tax.”
The government will continue to pursue the remainder of its 10-year business tax cut plan when parliament resumes after the summer break this week.
It wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent from 30 per cent for all businesses.
So far the parliament has passed cuts for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million.
Labor opposed cuts beyond small businesses with a $2 million.
However, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said last week Labor would say after this year’s May budget whether it would reverse the cuts already legislated.
“We’ve got Bill Shorten going back several generations to the anti-business left-wing policies that most people thought the Labor Party had cast aside back in the ’70s. He’s reviving them,” Mr Turnbull said.
On Sunday night, Mr Shorten said needed a more “modern definition” of a living wage.
Asked if he supported a union plan of setting the minimum wage at 60 per cent of median incomes, Mr Shorten said he was yet to arrive at a final figure.
“I haven’t got a final number, but let me say this … the minimum wage needs to go up,” Mr Shorten told ABC TV.
“The awards need a lift and the minimum wage case alone, in my opinion, isn’t sufficient, we’ve got to restore the penalty rates that are cut arbitrarily on Sunday’s and public holidays.”