Treasurer Scott Morrison says cuts are necessary for tax relief.
Treasurer Scott Morrison says cuts are necessary for tax relief. AFP PHOTO - William West

Morrison ready to slash costs in quest for surplus

THERE will be no GST hike but the man who holds the nation's purse-strings is only offering light income tax relief as he prepares to slash costs to bring the budget back into surplus.

Treasurer Scott Morrison used his National Press Club address on Wednesday to emphasise the need to curb spending to offset increasing pressures on the budget.

Categorically ruling out an increase in the goods and services tax for now, Mr Morrison said the government also recognised the need to provide income tax relief - albeit modest and at the cost of cuts elsewhere.

"This government will not be taking a GST increase to the next election," he said.

"If we do nothing at all to the tax on what people earn, it will go up and up and up.

"That is a job killer and it's a growth killer.

"What we have found is that the only way to have lower taxes is to have lower expenditure."

Mr Morrison told journalists that current state and territory government funding commitments would be safe when he balanced the nation's books later this year.

However, he conceded getting the budget back into surplus was going to be tough and would need "patience".

Mr Morrison admitted the Coalition had spent $70 billion of the $80 billion savings made since coming to office in 2013.

"There is no quick fix to it," Mr Morrison said.

"We are battling strong headwinds."

ALP shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said without a GST increase, Mr Morrison had: "No ideas, no vision, no policies".

"Today, we saw a treasurer ... without an economic framework or a plan for Australia's economic future," he said.

Oxfam Australia head Dr Helen Szoke urged Mr Morrison to consider cracking down on multinational corporate "tax dodging" to plug budgetary shortfalls.

"At a time when governments around the world are struggling to raise funds to provide the basic services people need, our government's focus should be on properly clamping down on corporate tax avoidance, and tax evasion," Dr Szoke said.


AT A GLANCE

  • There will be No GST increase.
  • Income tax cuts are needed to ensure jobs growth and economic growth continue.
  • There will be major cost-cutting at the next federal budget.


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