But the coalition says Labor is planning to hike taxes across the board and still can’t pay for all the spending the party has announced.
Mr Shorten used his budget reply speech on Thursday night to announce support for the government’s planned $530 offset for low- and middle-income earners – and then go further.
“In our first budget, we will deliver a bigger, better and fairer tax cut for 10 million working Australians. Almost double,” Mr Shorten told parliament.
“In our first term of government, a teacher on $65,000 will be $2780 better off under Labor – an extra $928 a year.”
The $5.8 billion plan will give $350 refunds to people earning $25,000, rising to $928 for people earning up to $90,000.
Above that, the refund tapers down to $140 for people earning $120,000 a year.
Labor is also promising to scrap up-front fees for 100,000 TAFE students in high priority industries to get more Australian apprentices into work, and uncap university places.
“I don’t want Australia to meet these needs with skills visas. I want to train our people for these jobs,” Mr Shorten said.
He’s banking on Labor’s changes to negative gearing, dividend imputation and capital gains tax to pay for the promises, as well as their decision not to match the government’s corporate tax cuts.
But Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Labor’s plans don’t add up.
“He’s spending the same money several times over, he’s spending money he already spent in the lead-up to the last election, on things that he recommitted to again today,” Senator Cormann told reporters.
“These are $200 billion in higher taxes which will hurt the economy, which will hurt families, and which will cost jobs.”
Senator Cormann said Labor did not have a long-term plan to shift the tax system, unlike the coalition’s seven-year bid to flatten the income tax structure.
Mr Shorten challenged the coalition to campaign on company tax cuts in the upcoming five by-elections sparked due to the citizenship crisis.
He also promised to return the budget to surplus in 2019/20, the same year as the coalition.
But Mr Shorten did not commit to lifting Newstart payments, which even former prime minister John Howard this week said should be raised.
“We need to review the payment system to work out what is adequate,” Mr Shorten told the ABC’s 7:30 Report.