Controversial tax cuts providing greater relief for high-earning Australians will remain in place, the prime minister has vowed.
Anthony Albanese said stage three tax cuts will still go ahead and come into effect on July 1.
The tax cuts will create a single tax bracket for workers earning between $45,000 and $200,000 a year.
Workers with a taxable income above $45,000 will benefit from the tax cuts but high income earners are set to receive the highest gains.
While the prime minister has faced calls for the tax cuts to be scrapped in favour of other cost-of-living relief measures, he said the government would honour its election commitment to keep them in place.
“The government’s position hasn’t changed … inequality is an issue and the government has looked at ways in which we can improve that position,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
Asked about the impact this policy would have on inflation, Mr Albanese said the Reserve Bank had already “factored in” the tax cuts.
“We think that income tax relief is one way that can assist people, because it does mean extra dollars in people’s pockets,” he said.
Mr Albanese said Labor would continue to look at measures to help Aussies doing it tough, in the lead-up to the federal budget.
Social welfare advocates have blasted the tax cuts as unfair as many people battle with the cost-of-living crisis.
But former senior treasury officials have backed the cuts as a way to address bracket creep.
Housing Minister Julie Collins said the government was committed to following through with the tax cuts.
“We went into the election saying that we would keep the stage three tax cuts, and our position hasn’t changed,” she told reporters in Canberra.
“What we’re doing is working right across the board about how we provide cost of living relief to Australians that need it most.”
While the cost of living remains a concern, a new survey has revealed most Australians are feeling confident about their future financial situation.
The survey of more than 1000 people commissioned by the Super Members Council revealed more than two-thirds thought their super balance made them feel assured of their financial wellbeing.
But 53 per cent of respondents said they were financially struggling.
Jobseekers are being put through the wringer as competition for vacancies continues to intensify.
Australian employment marketplace Seek recorded a 0.5 per cent increase in the volume of job ads posted in December. This was only the third increase in 18 months.
Demand for workers remains 17.4 per cent lower than December 2022 while the number of people fighting for the same position in November rose by six per cent.
SEEK ANZ’s managing director Kendra Bank says this demonstrates continued rising competition for job opportunities.
Job ads for education and training workers dropped by 3.5 per cent as part of a 5.9 per cent dip compared to December 2022.
But hospitality and tourism ads, which have been on the decline since August grew by 3.7 per cent, making it the second highest monthly rise behind consulting and strategy positions which rose four per cent.
The overall uptick was also supported by increased demand for blue collar workers.
Job ads for the trades and services sector grew by 2.2 per cent with employers increasingly searching for labourers, welders and boilermakers and gardening and landscaping roles – which all experienced increases of five to eight per cent.
But every sector was posting fewer open positions in December 2023 than the year before, with demand for information and communication technology industry roles dropping by 31.9 per cent compared to the previous year.
Kat Wong, Tess Ikonomou and Andrew Brown
(Australian Associated Press)