Treasurer Josh Frydenberg insists the federal government will stick to its plan despite pressure to bring forward tax cuts and infrastructure to stimulate the economy.
The federal opposition wants legislated tax cuts due in July 2022 brought forward to next year, along with a boost to infrastructure spending and tax incentives for businesses to invest,
But Mr Frydenberg said the government would stay the course with income tax cuts legislated in July.
“We’re sticking to the plan and we’ll stick to our policies that are based on our values, namely that Australians earn more and can keep more of what they earn,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
Latest figures show annual wage growth slipped to 2.2 per cent, while unemployment edged higher to 5.3 per cent amid warnings from the central bank about the economy.
Mr Frydenberg said the unemployment rate should be kept in context, with the figure at 5.7 per cent when the coalition came to power.
“We have created jobs, the labour market has been resilient and there are record numbers of Australians in work, particularly more women,” he said.
He said Australia’s economy was resilient, noting the government had balanced the budget and retained the country’s AAA credit rating.
“There are some challenges across the economy and no one is seeking to sidestep those,” he said.
The treasurer said the drought and global trade tensions were economic headwinds Australia was grappling with.
Shadow assistant treasurer Stephen Jones urged the government to use the final parliamentary sitting fortnight to outline a plan to give the economy a shot in the arm.
“The government can’t continue to sit in the grandstands, it’s got to get out on the field and start playing the game,” he told Sky.
Mr Jones said Australians were looking for a plan from the government but were yet to see one.
“Far from seeing the Christmas period as a traditional time where you get a boost to the economy, it looks like we’re going further backwards,” he said.
Mr Frydenberg said the effect of income tax cuts were still flowing through the economy.
The government last Friday released plans for a 15 per cent concessional tax rate for infrastructure projects, instead of 30 per cent, in a bid to stimulate the economy and attract foreign capital.
The tax incentive would cover energy, transport, water and communications projects which meet the criteria.