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Labor targets Turnbull over cost of living

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January 05, 2018

Tanya Plibersek (file) says the government must take responsibility for a fall of living standards.

The federal opposition has blamed government inaction for Australians enduring the longest continual fall of living standards in more than 25 years.

Low wages growth paired with high underemployment and rises in the cost of electricity and other necessities have led to a "lengthy period of weakness in living standards," AMP chief economist Shane Oliver told AAP on Friday.

Dr Oliver argues Australia's falling living standards are due to several issues but Labor's acting opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, insists the buck stops with the Turnbull government.

"We're in the longest stretch of declining living standards in a quarter of a century," Ms Plibersek told reporters in Sydney.

"In the last quarter of a century, we haven't seen a period where we've seen such a run of uninterrupted declining living standards, and Malcolm Turnbull's response (is) tax cuts for multinationals and millionaires and bugger the rest of us."

Small and Family Business Minister Craig Laundy says the government is focused on decreasing both the personal and company tax rates as well as addressing electricity prices.

"It's not one is better than all, it's the sum of all parts," Mr Laundy told reporters while describing Ms Plibersek as "the latest of Labor's economic minnows".

Dr Oliver on Friday warned the government may struggle to bring the budget back to surplus by 2020/21 as promised if it continued to cut taxes.

"Without spending cuts elsewhere in the economy it (the target) is questionable," he told AAP.

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