LABOR will cut billions of dollars in family welfare payments in a desperate search for budget savings to pay for its multibillion-dollar election spending spree.
Admitting that some of its new savings measures would be “tough” and “unpopular”, Labor leader Bill Shorten — who has perfected the art of flip-flopping on key policy issues — will argue they are necessary. He will also maintain families will still be better off under Labor than the Coalition.
Mr Shorten’s day of economic reckoning has come as he today releases some of the costings on how he will pay for everything he has promised. Last night Labor’s campaign office said the savings measures would include the better targeting of family payments.
It also confirmed it would walk away from its opposition to some of the $18 billion in government savings measures it had blocked in the Senate.
Labor has effectively held the budget to ransom for three years by blocking the former Abbott government’s savings measures.
Today it will reverse its opposition to many of them as it scrambles to find a way to pay for its spending and a budget black hole the Coalition claims is between $35 billion and $66 billion.
It is expected that Labor will buckle on some of the $7 billion in savings from family tax payments which the Coalition had banked against increases to a revamped childcare system.
“We will announce some new measures that better target family payments, while protecting those who need support the most. Families will still be better off under Labor,” a statement from the Labor campaign office said.