Roundup: Australian opposition promises over 15 bln USD budget surplus by 2023

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CANBERRA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) has released its policy costings, promising bigger budget surpluses than the incumbent Liberal-National Party coalition (LNP).

Chris Bowen, the ALP's treasury spokesperson, said Friday that if victorious in the general election on May 18, the ALP will deliver a budget surplus of 21.7 billion Australian dollars (15.2 billion U.S. dollars) by June 2023, more than double the 9.2 billion Australian dollars (6.3 billion U.S. dollars) projected by the government.

According to the document, ALP leader Bill Shorten's tax plan would raise 154 billion Australian dollars (108 billion U.S. dollars) over 10 years, 87 billion Australian dollars (61 billion U.S. dollars) of which will be spent paying down debt.

"A Shorten Labor government will provide a genuine cost of living relief for working Australians and pensioners, not multinational tax avoidance," Bowen told reporters on Friday, according to the Guardian Australia.

"We will keep taxes low by international standards, with Australia's tax burden to remain in the bottom third of comparable advanced economies.

"Labor's policies are fully costed and we are funding our priorities through a package of measures to make multinationals pay their fair share and close down loopholes for the top end of town."

According to the ALP, it marks the earliest release of costings by an Australian federal opposition.

The latest opinion polls showed that the ALP, maintaining a narrow lead over the LNP on a two-party preferred basis before the election, has been under pressure from the LNP to disclose the cost of its ambitious pledges to reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent from 2005 levels and have 50 percent of Australia's electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.

Treasury figures claimed that Shorten's tax plan will cost Australians 387 billion Australian dollars (271.4 billion U.S. dollars) over a decade and that figure includes 230 billion Australian dollars (161.3 billion U.S. dollars) in personal tax cuts proposed by the LNP that the ALP does not support.

Jim Chalmers, the ALP's finance spokesperson, said that the party had taken the initiative by releasing the cost of its economic agenda with eight days until the election, calling on the LNP to do the same.

Responding to the ALP announcement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison whose campaign has been built on the projected surplus and a message of fiscal stability said that the ALP's costings were incomplete.

"This is the thing with Labor," he said.

"When you can't manage money, you always end up spending more.

"Labor will tax you more and they will spend you more, but you know what? I reckon Australians have wised up to this.

"The government that has demonstrated its ability to manage money, and get things back on track," he said. Enditem

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