The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, made a pitch for a “better future” at his official campaign launch in Perth, outlining new policies to try to capture voter attention.
The party has veered away from the big-spending and revenue-raising promises of the last election campaign. But Albanese pledged on Sunday that if he wins the 21 May election “the work of building that better future will start the very next day”.
Here are the five key policies unveiled by the Labor party on Sunday.
Labor promised to cut the price of medicines for general patients under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) by 29%, reducing them by $12.5o to a maximum cost of $30.
Labor says its proposal will save a person taking one medication a month $150 a year. The changes to the PBS will take effect from 1 January 2023 and will cost $190m.
As part of a pitch to make more things in Australia, Labor vowed to boost onshore manufacturing capability and supply chain resilience with a $1bn “value-adding in resources” fund.
The fund will form part of Labor’s $15bn national reconstruction fund and will target the “full value” of the resources sector, particularly rare earths and critical minerals.
The scheme would operate through the granting of loans, equity and guarantees for businesses operating in resources value-adding and mining science.
The gender pay gap
Albanese also promised to make gender pay equity an objective in the Fair Work Act and to strengthen the Fair Work Commission’s powers to order pay increases for workers in low-paid, female-dominated industries.
The aim is to improve conditions for women in industries such as aged care, early childhood education and care, and disability care.
A Labor government would establish a statutory equal remuneration principle, as already exists in Queensland, to guide the FWC and new expert panels to hear equal pay cases.
Labor says it will establish a new $500m “driving the nation” fund, which will allow the commonwealth to co-invest in electric vehicle chargers, as well as hydrogen and biofuel refuelling infrastructure.
It is pledging to build a national EV charging network with charging stations at an average interval of 150km on major roads and at a cost of $39.3m.
The policy, which Labor argues will “fill the gaps” in the country’s charging network and allow long-distance travel across the country, would aim to leverage investment from the NRMA, state governments, industry and car clubs.
Labor is also promising to create “hydrogen highways” for a hydrogen refuelling network, and an electric car discount to make EVs cheaper.
The centrepiece of Labor’s campaign launch was a policy to address the growing problem of housing affordability, with Albanese declaring Labor will help unlock “the great Australian dream of home ownership”.
Labor has promised to establish a $392m housing equity scheme and to establish a national housing supply and affordability council if it wins government.
The “help to buy” scheme will provide an equity contribution of up to 40% of the purchase price of a new home, and up to 30% for an existing home, to be made available for 10,000 people.
To qualify, eligible homebuyers will have to earn less than $90,000 for an individual or $120,000 for a couple, have a 2% deposit, and be eligible for a standard home loan with a participating lender to finance the remainder of their purchase.