Treasurer Joe Hockey has hit back at critics who doubt his ability to deliver personal income tax cuts and bring the budget back to surplus by 2020.
Mr Hockey has promised to take personal income tax cuts to the next election, insisting he’ll pay for them the same way he delivered $5 billion of tax cuts for small business in his second budget.
“People said it wasn’t possible to do, you wouldn’t be able to pay for it , well we did,” he told ABC TV on Wednesday.
“If you save money where you can and certainly don’t go on massive new spending binges in a range of different areas, then you can find the money to pay for the necessary reform to strengthen the Australian economy.”
The treasurer also came out swinging against criticism that he’s done too much talking about bracket creep without taking action to curb it.
Mr Hockey says it’s necessary to first explain to Australians why bracket creep, which pushes workers into higher tax brackets merely through wage inflation, is worth reforming.
“The impatience of a number of commentators, the impatience of a number of critics is holding back reform,” he said.
“You have to explain the problem, and then explain what the solution is and then lay down a plan to deliver the outcome.”
Greens treasury spokesman Adam Bandt says research shows plugging the revenue hole left by tax cuts will require a broader GST, driving up the cost of health, education and fresh food.
“He’s ruled out balancing the books by reforming unfair tax breaks for the wealthy but he remains happy to talk about making everyone else pay through a broader GST,” he said.