Bill Shorten during a recent visit to Ispwich.
Bill Shorten during a recent visit to Ispwich. David Nielsen

Bill Shorten vows $71 billion in savings

BILL Shorten has vowed to impose heavier taxes on the rich as part of his plan to save $71 billion over the next decade.

The Opposition leader has been accused of inspiring a 'class war' - a claim he denies.

But comments in his budget reply speech certainly added to the theme.

"From Tony's Tradies to Malcolm's Millionaires, this is a budget for big business over battlers," he said.

"They are collecting more tax than any time since John Howard's last year in office - and yet they've added $100 billion to Australia's national debt."

Mr Shorten said the $71 billion of budget improvements he had outlined were 'what a responsible budget looks like'.

He said the temporary deficit levy on high income earners that is due to expire next June would be made permanent, providing an estimated $16 billion.

Labor would not proceed with the Government's budget plan to reduce company tax to a flat 25 per cent in 10 years, which Mr Shorten maintains would save $49 billion.

The third element is a restriction on the size of government-backed vocational education loans, saving $6 billion.

He said Labor would focus on helping working families, rather than the rich.

"It is not 'class war' to disagree with cutting money from families on $50,000 and $60,000 [a year] in order to give millionaires a tax break."