News National Labor to promise cheaper treatments for cancer patients

Labor to promise cheaper treatments for cancer patients

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Scott Morrison attend an ovarian cancer event at Parliament House. Photo: AAP
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Bill Shorten will declare the next election another referendum on Medicare, pledging more affordable cancer treatments but opposing $95 billion in new budget tax cuts.

The New Daily has confirmed Labor will announce on Thursday it will oppose the Prime Minister’s election pledge to reduce the 32.5 cent tax rate down to 30 cents from 2024.

The budget papers confirm these tax cuts are worth $95 billion.

The total value of the government’s new tax cuts is $158 billion.

That’s on top of the $144 billion in cuts over the next decade, which had already been announced.

Mr Shorten will also confirm Labor will match the Prime Minister’s $1080 tax refund for workers earning less than $130,000.

But the Opposition leader will accuse Scott Morrison of pushing a “tax on working mums” that rips off all workers earning under $40,000, referring to the new tax cuts announced on budget night by the Coalition.

Budget income tax table
Table showing how the government’s tax cuts would impact personal income tax. Source: 2019 Budget

In his reply speech, Mr Shorten will declare that under Labor the nearly three million workers in the low-income category – the majority of whom are women – would pay less tax than what they would under the Liberals.

The New Daily has also confirmed Labor will reject the Coalition’s new plan to drop the 32.5 cent tax rate to 30 cents in 2024 and remains opposed to tax cuts for high-income earners, drawing the battle lines for the May election.

The big-spending health measures will build on previous announcements to cover the cost of MRIs for women with breast cancer, which could save patients up to $1500 for a scan.

While men already secure rebates for MRIs under Medicare for prostate cancer, women with breast cancer do not.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten prepares for a television interview in front of Parliament House on Wednesday. Photo: Getty

Mr Shorten is expected to warn the budget leaves workers earning under $40,000 a year worse off than under Labor, affecting women who are the majority of that income bracket.

“Make no mistake, this is a Liberal Party tax on working mums,” Mr Shorten said.

“Families are already dealing with cuts to childcare and no funding certainty for kindergarten under the Liberals. The last thing they need is higher taxes under the Liberals.

“Whether it’s lower taxes, better super or universal preschool, Labor is the party for working mums and working families.”

There are an estimated 2.9 million taxpayers earning less than $40,000.

In his budget reply speech on Thursday night, Mr Shorten will confirm that Labor will deliver lower taxes than the Liberals for those nearly three million workers.

“With Labor, 10 million Australians get the same or bigger tax cut. Nearly three million low-paid workers get a bigger tax cut,” Mr Shorten said.

But Labor will reject the Coalition’s $144 billion three-phase tax cuts for high-income earners and pledge to repeal the legislated cuts if it wins office.

Mr Shorten will declare: “A retail worker on $35,000 a year would get a tax cut of $255 a year under the Liberals, compared to $350 in Labor’s original plan.

“While people on $200,000 get a tax cut of $11,640 – a tax cut that’s 45 times higher.”

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