Labor to unveil 'tough, unpopular' savings measures

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The Federal Opposition will unveil a multi-billion dollar package of budget savings today, which it says will include some "tough and unpopular" decisions.

Earlier this week Bill Shorten outlined a 10-year plan for the economy.

It is expected to announce changes to the family payments system to target assistance towards low and middle income families, and to protect people who need the most support.

Labor will also outline how many of the $18 billion in unlegislated budget measures it will adopt, and which it will continue to oppose.

Many of the so-called "zombie" measures date back to the Coalition's 2014 budget, and have been blocked in the Senate.

The ABC understands Labor will reject the Government's plan to save more than $6 billion by phasing out end of year supplements for family tax benefit (FTB) recipients, but it will propose some changes to the FTB system.

Other measures on the list to be resolved include a four-week wait for young people to access unemployment benefits, raising the age of eligibility for the Newstart allowance to 25, and removing the carbon pricing scheme compensation for new welfare recipients.

Labor said the savings announced today would go towards reducing the budget deficit, and paying for promises that have already been announced.

Earlier this week, Opposition leader Bill Shorten outlined a 10-year plan for the economy, which showed the budget deficit under a Labor government would be larger in the short-term, before returning to balance in 2021.

Family payments system 'not an acceptable way' to find savings

The welfare sector has been anxiously waiting for Labor to outline its plans.

"It's really important to recognise that the family payments system, like the rest of the social security system is highly targeted already," National Welfare Rights Network executive officer Matthew Butt told AM.

"There's no room left for major cuts."

Labor had previously railed against the Government's decision to scrap the School Kids Bonus, but earlier in the election campaign it confirmed it would not reinstate the payment.

Mr Butt said welfare groups were waiting to see if other measures received the same treatment.

"There's a perception that the family payments system is middle-class welfare, that it is expensive, and that it's an appropriate place to look for cuts in some quarters," Mr Butt said.

"But there's already been a series of pauses, there's been changes to the indexation of family tax benefits; further cuts are just going to lead to hardship at the bottom end.

"It's just not an acceptable way or a credible way for either side of politics to deal with the issue of returning to surplus."

He said both the Coalition and Labor should be promising to increase payments like the Newstart allowance, instead of contemplating further cuts.



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