As congratulations roll in for Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese, many are thinking about what a Labour-led government will mean for the country.
In his victory speech on Saturday night, Albanese, soon to become the nation’s 31st prime minister, said he was honored by the victory and promised a more united Australia.
Watch Anthony Albanese’s victory speech in the video player above
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“No matter how you voted … the government I lead will respect each one of you every day,” he told the crowd.
“We can have an even better future if we take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us.”
So what will Australia look like under a new government? These are some of the key policies Labor has promised.
Cost of living
The cost of living, intensified by soaring inflation and rising interest rates, as well as the global challenges of the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, quickly became one of the key issues in the election.
Albanese says Labor will move wages to keep up with inflation, including backing a 5.1 per cent increase in the minimum wage if recommended by the Fair Work Commission.
The so-called stage 3 tax cuts, legislated under the previous government, are blocked.
Costing about $19 billion a year, the 32.5 percent marginal tax rate will drop to 30 percent (effective July 2024) for everyone earning between $45,000 and $200,000, which which actually constitutes a large tax bracket.
That means a potential earning of $1,125 per year for someone with $90,000, rising to $9,075 per year for someone with $200,000 or more.
Albanese said he would match a measure promised by outgoing Prime Minister Scott Morrison that seeks to expand eligibility for the Commonwealth’s senior health card.
This means a further 50,000 older Australians will have access to cheaper medicine and health care, as well as being entitled to some savings from state, territory and local government, such as discounted fares, electricity and gas bills, and public transport.
Labor’s $1.2 billion investment will generate additional college seats and free TAFE courses.
One year of free broadband will also be given to 30,000 families who do not have internet access at home.
Under a Labor government, Albanese said providing cheaper childcare would boost participation and productivity in the workforce.
University and TAFE
Labor has promised that universities will get $480 million to deliver up to 20,000 extra places over two years.
He also promised to increase the number of teachers by paying 5,000 students with an ATAR of 80 or more $10,000 a year to study to become a teacher and an additional $2,000 if they move to a regional or rural area.
As for TAFE, Labor has committed to spending $621 million over four years to cover the cost of 465,000 places in an effort to address Australia’s skills shortage.
In addition, a $50 million TAFE Technology Fund will be established to upgrade facilities across the country, and $100 million will be invested to create 10,000 new energy apprenticeships.
Jobs and pensions
Labor plans to support salary reviews and address the gender pay gap through the Fair Work Act.
It will also provide new protections for informal economy workers, invest $1 billion in advanced manufacturing projects, and make wage theft a national crime.
Labor says it will require small business invoices to be paid within 30 days, and will reduce business fees, standardize disaster support payments for small business owners and cut red tape at tax time.
Health care, especially after the height of the pandemic, has become a constant hot topic.
Labor has promised that almost a billion dollars in new Medicare funds will be made available.
This includes $750 million over three years for a new “Strengthening Medicare Fund,” which will aim to improve access and care for patients, as well as $220 million in grants to primary care physicians to train staff, supply new equipment and improve telehealth services.
The COVID-19 pandemic
Frontline workers have consistently said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is bringing hospitals to a standstill.
Labor has announced a plan for 50 urgent care clinics, costing $135 million over four years, to try to ease the pressure on hospitals.
The federal budget has already allocated $547 million over five years to mental health services, including regional suicide prevention programs, youth mental health and digital services, and eating disorder care plans.
Labor has committed $31 million to restore funding for psychiatric telehealth services over four years for people living in regional or rural areas.
Labor has pledged $2.5bn to reform the aged care system, including ensuring there is a registered nurse on site 24 hours a day.
Tough penalties will be introduced in a bid to tackle systemic abuse and neglect in senior care facilities.
Cuts in funding for the National Disability Insurance Plan became a major issue in this election, with the average participant experiencing a four percent cut in their plan between 2020 and 2021.
While four percent doesn’t sound like much, the impact can be potentially devastating: with many service providers already operating at a loss, any further cuts could lead to a lower level of care.
Labor has promised to increase staffing levels, correct regional access, cut unnecessary administrative spending, increase efficiency, stop plan cuts and co-design changes to the scheme with industry.
It has never been more difficult, or more expensive, to enter the real estate market.
The median house price in Australia is $1.07 million, an increase of more than 18% since March last year, with the median price in Sydney rising around $1,100 a day last year to $1.6 million dollars, according to Domain.
Not much better for renters: Not only have rental prices increased in the last two years, but the market can’t keep up with demand, with the national vacancy rate at a multi-year low of one per hundred.
Labor has backed many of the measures outlined by Scott Morrison to tackle these issues, including the HomeBuilder program to help eligible Australians buy or renovate property.
However, Albanese did not support the Super Home Buyer plan, claiming that it would not help those entering the real estate market, as they generally had the lowest retirement savings.
Instead, ALP’s $329 million share capital scheme will help low- and middle-income people enter the market, with the government taking up to a 40 per cent stake in the property they buy.
Action for the environment and climate change
Albanese has pledged not to introduce a carbon or mining tax.
It pledged to reach zero emissions by 2050 to help keep global warming below two degrees Celsius.
Labor has said it will make electric vehicles cheaper and build charging stations across the country, as well as investing $80m for 16 hydrogen filling stations on our busiest charging routes.
Another $194.5 million will go toward Great Barrier Reef protection programs, in addition to funding for several other projects, including repairing local waterways and watersheds, and establishing a National Water Commission.
Labor has promised that a National Anti-Corruption Commission will be legislated by the end of the year.
Albanese has promised his government will review the anti-siphon scheme, saying major sporting events should be on broadcast television.
The anti-siphon scheme gives free-to-air broadcasters the first opportunity to acquire television rights to major events.
Labor say they will implement the Uluru Declaration – Voice, Treaty and Truth – in its entirety.
“On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I commit to the Uluru Declaration from the heart,” Albanese said as he began his victory speech on Saturday night.
Labor will also abolish the Community Development Programme, tackle incarceration and deaths in custody through what it calls historic justice reinvestment funding, get rid of the controversial cashless debit card and improve housing in remote indigenous communities. , in addition to strengthening employment opportunities for First Nations.
Labor has pledged to build 30,000 affordable housing properties in its first five years in government, including properties for families fleeing domestic violence.
He also said earlier that he would appoint a new commissioner for family and sexual violence, as well as create hundreds of frontline positions under a $153 million women’s safety policy.