Liberals tip federal budget to add fuel to inflation

·2-min read

There is a credible case the Albanese government's second budget will make inflation worse, the shadow treasurer says.

Angus Taylor on Wednesday used a National Press Club speech to deliver his assessment of Labor's economic blueprint released last week.

He said the government had not banked 99 per cent its revenue windfall from high commodity prices and the strong labour market as it promised.

"In October, the government has banked just 40 per cent of improvements in the budget bottom line (since the pre-election budget report), and spent 60 per cent of the massive windfall from strong commodities and job markets," Mr Taylor said.

He said no one wins from a " big-spending government" when inflation is as high as it is.

"At best the budget fails to address inflation. At worst it adds fuel to the fire. There is a credible case that it is making it worse."

Debate has raged about the inflationary impact of the budget, with some economists querying the government's assertion its cost of living package will drive inflation down.

Treasury expects the cost of living relief package to lower inflation by three-quarters of a percentage point in 2023/24.

Mr Taylor also pointed to $185 billion in new spending since Labor came to office in May last year, with $2 of new spending initiatives for every new dollar of revenue initiatives.

The Liberal frontbencher said "core inflation" in Australia, sitting at 6.6 per cent, was worse than other major economies, including the UK, the US and Canada.

He said inflation and low economic growth were a dangerous combination.

"At a time where inflation is making quality of life worse, productivity gains are the only pathway to ensure Australians can realise their aspirations," he said.

By way of possible productivity-enhancing measures, he said getting energy policy right was the priority.

He accused the government of tightening the screws on the gas industry via the changes to the petroleum resources rent tax and other measures that could restrict supply.

"We want a gas industry that's successful in this country, not one that's dying a death of a thousand cuts."

Infrastructure also made his hit list of productivity drivers, with the shadow treasurer suggesting long commute times were weighing on the productive potential of workers.

Mr Taylor took aim at the government's "unmanaged" migration policy and said it would drive up housing costs.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the opposition was creating a "scare campaign" about migration.

"This is a bit of a low rent attempt by members of the coalition," Mr Albanese told ABC radio.

He said the higher-than-anticipated migration uptick was largely driven by the rapid return of students.