Tax on the frontline as calls grow for bolder reform

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Allegra Spender has vowed to put bold tax reform on the table after expressing frustration at the two major political parties not wanting to touch the vexed issue.

The independent MP is spearheading reform and said it was important to bring everyone to the table after this year's intergenerational report highlighted how reliant Australia will be on income tax over the next 40 years.

"The major parties have wedged themselves so effectively on tax that no one can say anything," she told the ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

"There is a real challenge on the reliance of income tax."

Ms Spender said if the government kept relying on workers to prop up its revenue base, it would lead to "intergenerational tragedy" for young workers already slugged with high HECS debts and housing costs.

The Wentworth MP said changes to the GST and capital gains tax should be included in discussions about boosting productivity, which would drive wage growth.

She added that while the government has focused on industrial relations to boost wages, they've been less attuned to the needs of business owners.

"They do not have an agenda which is around trying to make it easier to run a business and actually easier to employ people," she said.

"That drives productivity as well."

Ms Spender promised to keep tax reform as a frontline issue at the next election given the hesitancy from major parties to do anything but tinker around the edges.

The opposition has already seized on the problems outlined in the intergenerational report that predicted growth over the next 40 years would lag behind previous decades.

Opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume said there needed to be more focus on solutions.

"The frustration with the intergenerational report is it didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know," she told Sky News on Sunday.

"We know that the pressures are going to be on aged care, on health and on the NDIS but ... there doesn't seem to be any solutions on the expenditure side.

"It just seems to be this inevitability that taxes are going to have to go up."

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the report was an important chance to "focus the nation's mind on the future at the same time as we deal with the challenges in the here and now".

"We have a big, broad ambitious reform agenda," he said.

The treasurer added the economy had weakened as a consequence of what's happening around the world as Beijing deals with slowing growth, decreasing exports, deflation and concerns within its property and banking sectors.

"It is concerning to see the weakness, the softness in recent weeks and months in the Chinese economy because it has obvious implications for us here in Australia," he said.

The lag in the sting of interest rate hikes was also flagged as a handbrake on the economy as the government tackles sticky inflation.