Jobs and tax kick off election campaign

By Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
AAP

Malcolm Turnbull appears to be working on the assumption that if you say something often enough it will become reality.

Spruiking the coalition government's national economic plan at a media conference on day one of the election campaign, the prime minister mentioned the word "jobs" no less than 16 times.

New figures suggest he might have to use the word repeatedly between now and the July 2 election day.

Job advertisements, a key pointer to future employment growth, fell 0.8 per cent in April, according to new ANZ data.

Jobs ads have been broadly unchanged since October last year, suggesting the economy has lost some momentum after strong growth late last year and further significant inroads into the unemployment rate may be more difficult to achieve.

Felicity Emmett, head of Australian economics at ANZ, said moderation after substantial employment growth last year could reflect some uncertainty among employers around the near-term economic outlook and ahead of the election.

"The reaction to the 2016 budget has been quite mixed, and the RBA's cut in its cash rate last week to an historic low of 1.75 per cent highlights the challenges for Australia's economy," Ms Emmett said on Monday.

Mr Turnbull insists his national economic plan - the centrepiece of last week's budget that includes $50 billion of business tax cuts - will be positive for the outlook.

"Let me say to you that it is very clear that as you reduce business taxes, you will get more investment and more employment," he told reporters in Brisbane.

The Australian Treasury estimated last year that for every dollar of company tax cut there was $4 of additional value created in the economy, he said.

The government aims to reduce the company tax rate to 25 per cent from 30 per cent over the next decade, which Treasury says will boost the economy by one per cent or $16 billion when fully implemented.

But shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh says the Treasury modelling shows just 0.1 per cent will go to households because many of the beneficiaries of the tax cut are foreign shareholders.

The proposition being put to Australian households is that they'll have an extra 0.1 per cent in exchange for not being able to fund hospitals and schools.

"I don't think many people will find that an attractive deal," Dr Leigh told Sky News.

Meanwhile, for voters cringing at the thought of a 55-day campaign, company directors have the solution - a referendum for four-year fixed terms.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors says the past 15 parliaments have run for terms of just two-and-a-half years.

"We need a better system that gives our governments and those who run them the ability to make long-term decisions in the best interests of our nation," CEO John Brogden said.