A senior Labor frontbencher says cutting the company tax rate is not a great use of public money when the budget is half a trillion dollars in debt.
Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh says the Turnbull government's own modelling shows Australian household income would grow by 0.1 per cent in the 2030s if the company tax rate is reduced to 25 per cent for all businesses.
"That it is delivering an extra month of household income growth in the 2030s at a time when debt is just past the half a trillion dollar mark. Doesn't seem like a great use of taxpayers money to me," Dr Leigh told Sky News on Monday.
His comments come as the head of one of the nation's biggest companies says the reduction could deliver the Australian economy dividends "within months" of being passed and these would lead to more jobs and higher wages.
BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has joined a chorus of other bosses urging the Senate to pass the government's 10-year tax plan, telling The Australian newspaper there is now an "urgency" for Australia to keep up with the rest of the world.
But the cuts appear likely to be blocked in the upper house, with One Nation and Nick Xenophon Team senators already indicating they will join Labor and the Greens in opposing the legislation.
Government minister Angus Taylor describes Labor's attitude to the tax cuts as "extraordinary".
"The question for Labor is why don't they want to see Australians get a wage increase? That's what happens when you have company tax rate cuts," Mr Taylor told Sky News.
He says significant cuts in the company tax rate occurred during the Hawke, Keating and Howard eras which produced wage increases.
But Dr Leigh argues good tax reform involves broadening the base and lowering the rate.
"This is simply rate lowering at the expense of middle-income Australians," he said.