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Hockey eyes end of  negative gearing
Tax options: Joe Hockey. Picture: AAP

Joe Hockey's tax review could pave the way to end the $13 billion a year tax break 1.2 million Australians claim on investment properties.

The Opposition claims its planned white paper on tax reform would "finish the job that the Henry review started".

The shadow treasurer's spokesman emphasised this should not be interpreted as the Opposition expressing a view one way or the other on negative gearing and that there was "no pre-conceived agenda of taxes to be considered".

"An incoming Coalition government will consult with the community to produce a comprehensive white paper on tax reform," Mr Hockey's spokesman said.

"We want taxes that are lower, simpler and fairer and will take proposals for further tax reform to the following election.”

Mr Hockey has already opened the way for a GST rate and coverage rethink, though he said the States would have to drive any change.

Previous attempts to wind back negative gearing were met with political pain.

In 2003, shadow treasurer Mark Latham floated the idea in an interview but within hours ALP leader Simon Crean had to deny Labor would change the tax break.

And in 1985, treasurer Paul Keating introduced laws to prevent losses on negative gearing being used to offset a person's income.

After fierce criticism from the real estate sector, particularly in Sydney, the Hawke government abandoned the idea in 1987.

Recent tax office figures show a 31 per cent jump from the previous year in tax losses through negative gearing in 2010-11 with the average loss almost $11,000.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has said "lower, simpler, fairer taxes" would be pivotal to the planned tax white paper.

Mr Hockey said as well as accepting all Labor's proposed savings in the past two Budgets, worth about $70 billion, he would scrap all baby-related family welfare payments, a move that would hurt 113,000 low and middle-income families.

In last week's Budget, the Government replaced the $5000 Baby Bonus with higher family payments worth $2000 for the first child and $1000 for subsequent children.

Mr Hockey said the replacement payment would be dumped to save $600 million over four years.

He said Labor had a bad history of making commitments it did not deliver.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said the coalition planned big cuts to cover a big hole in its Budget bottom line.

He said it planned to "skate" through the election without revealing its plans.