The Australian Labor Party has release the first major party campaign pledges of the 2019 federal election, with a mix of both specific and non-specific policy priorities across almost half of the Commonwealth’s portfolio clusters.
Only independent and minor party policy costings have been released by the Parliamentary Budget Office as yet in the lead up to next year’s election.
Federal Labor’s initial mini-manifesto, unveiled on Sunday by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, covers education, health, human services, tax, industrial relations, energy and infrastructure.
Below we’ve organised the election promises by major portfolio cluster:
Education and Training
- Give every school the funding it needs – with more teachers and resources to give students greater individual attention and extra support for kids with special needs.
- Two years of pre-school education for every child – quality universal preschool education for three and four years olds taught by qualified early educators.
- Create more apprenticeships – waiving upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students and making one in ten positions on infrastructure projects an apprenticeship.
- Build better TAFE – invest $100 million in TAFE upgrades and guarantee public TAFE receives two thirds of vocational education funding.
- More university places – end the Liberals cap on university places and help 200,000 more young Australians graduate from university over the next decade.
Environment and Energy
- Invest in cheaper, cleaner renewable energy – to deliver 50 per cent of power from renewable sources by 2030.
- End the power privatisation mess – keep Snowy Hydro in public hands, and put an end to incentives for states to privatise their electricity assets.
- Better regulate power prices – with a new regulated capped offer protecting families and small business from price gouging by big energy companies.
- Stronger gas export controls – to keep Australian energy prices down and protect local manufacturing jobs.
- Future proof our energy network – by supporting new battery-storage, transmission lines, gas pipelines and dams.
- Support a just transition to renewables – helping workers and communities as ageing coal plants close and are replaced with cheaper, cleaner renewables.
- Empower businesses and communities – with support to access renewable energy and cut energy waste.
- Invest in more beds, doctors and nurses – to cut waiting lists for elective surgery and unclog emergency departments.
- Deliver new MRI machines – with Medicare licenses for the suburbs and regions that need them.
- End the Medicare Freeze – to address rising out-of-pocket costs and keep health care affordable.
- Cap private health insurance premiums – with increases capped at no more than 2 per cent for the next two years.
Industry and Jobs
- Restore penalty rates – to deliver fair pay for up to 700,000 retail and hospitality workers.
- Crack down on dodgy labour hire – ensuring labour hire companies must provide workers the same pay and conditions as those employed directly.
- Stop sham contracting and fake casuals – so workers can’t be forced to be ‘permanent casuals’, and companies can’t avoid their obligations by getting staff to register as contractors.
- Close the gender pay gap – taking action to deliver equal pay for equal work by forcing big business to report on their pay gap publicly.
- Crack down on the abuse of 457 visas – by limiting them to areas of genuine skill shortage and requiring positions to be advertised in Australia for local workers first.
- Use Australian grade steel – when building public infrastructure projects.
- Protect local manufacturers – by taking action against illegal dumping of cheap foreign products in the Australian market.
Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities
- Expand our public transport network – including the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane, the Western Metro in Sydney, connecting the Western Sydney Airport to the rail network from the day it opens, expanding Perth’s METRONET, and extending the Number 11 Tram line in Melbourne.
- Build better roads and safer highways – including safety upgrades to the Bass and Murchison highways in Tasmania, extending the Bruce Highway to Cairns Airport, funding the Mackay and Rockhampton Ring Road projects, and delivering the Romeo Road to Mitchell Freeway extension in Perth.
- Upgrade regional bridges – including the Bridgewater Bridge in Tasmania, building a wider bridge over the Shoalhaven River in Nowra, and deliver up to 300 wider, stronger bridges in regional Queensland.
- Invest in dams and water infrastructure – including the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme, building the Rookwood Weir Dam, upgrading the Burdekin Dam and delivering water security for Townsville.
- Deliver a freight and logistics network fit for purpose – with upgrades for up to 3,000 kilometres of Queensland’s inland road network to make it easier for agricultural producers to get their products to market, widen and deepen Townsville Port and build a dedicated heavy vehicle access road to the Port of Gladstone.
- Finance new tourism infrastructure – with a billion dollar fund to invest in tourism projects across northern Australia, in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Treasury and Finance
- Make multinationals pay their fair share – close the loopholes exploited by multinationals and stop profits being stashed away in tax havens.
- Close loopholes used by the top end of town – stop the use of family trusts to avoid paying fair share of tax
- Wind back the excesses in dividend imputation – end cash refunds on share dividends for investors who don’t pay tax.
- Cap deductions for use of accountants – with a maximum $3,000 deduction for using accountants to prepare personal tax returns.
- Reverse Morrison’s tax cut for millionaires – ask the top tax bracket to pay a little more so we can pay down the Liberals’ debt in a responsible way.
- Give workers a tax break – of up to $1,063 each year, instead of giving handouts to the top end of town.
- Level the playing field for first home buyers – by reforming tax concessions for property investors so they don’t have an unfair advantage when purchasing existing homes.
- Guarantee pensions – no changes to the pension age or rebates for pensioners.
Top photo: Opposition leader Bill Shorten and his daughter, Clementine, greet children and staff at the Deakin & Community Childcare Co-operative in Burwood last week. AAP Image/Daniel Pockett