Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen. Picture: Kym Smith
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen. Picture: Kym Smith

‘No apologies’ for tax proposals

THE man who would be treasurer in a Labor federal government says the party makes no apology for wanting to change taxes to make Australia fairer.

The comment by shadow treasurer Chris Bowen comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison ramped up attacks on Labor's economic credentials and plans for "$200 billion in new and higher taxes".

Mr Bowen says the prime minister is running a scare campaign about Labor's intentions ahead of the national election due by May.

"What we're doing is reforming unsustainable, unfair concessions and loopholes in the system," he told ABC Radio National on Wednesday.

"We make no apology for that, it's the right policy," Mr Bowen didn't deny the $200 billion figure linked to Labor's reform when it was put to him.

But he said it was necessary for Australia to invest more in schools and hospitals and in initiatives such as universal preschool for three-year-olds, closing the gender pay gap and making personal income tax cuts. "These are all important plans for Australia's future. There's are all Labor's plans," he said.

Among Labor's pledged changes is retaining the negative gearing tax break only for newly-built homes, with the policy grandfathered so the changes won't apply to existing investors.

The opposition has also proposed a reduction in the capital gains tax discount and ending cash handouts for non-taxpaying shareholders on their dividend credits.

Mr Bowen said Labor has had the courage to be upfront about its plans and seek a mandate for them.

Mr Morrison on Tuesday argued the Australian economy would be weaker under a government led by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.


UPDATE: Six crews contain fire, traffic still blocked

UPDATE: Six crews contain fire, traffic still blocked

Calls for cautious driving as six crews put out multiple spot fires.

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