Which policies are unveiled by Australian opposition ahead of elections?

May 02, 2022 05:34 PM AEST | By Akanksha Vashisht
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  • The current government has managed a range of economic and political struggles building over the last two years.
  • The opposition party recently announced a set of new policies during its official campaign launch in Perth.
  • Housing, manufacturing, and economic growth are some of the targeted areas of the opposition.

With the Australian elections approaching closer, political parties are facing the ultimate task of winning over the population with their policy reforms. The current government has run the nation under major economic and political stress that was seen building up in the last two years. Thus, the opposition also appears to be making its case stronger, allowing the people to make an informed choice.

The Australian Labor party has recently introduced a set of reforms and policies under its economic strategy that aim at helping the Aussies. These policies were unveiled under its official campaign launch in Perth, keeping in mind the rising cost-of-living pressures and the escalating tensions in Ukraine.

The federal elections in Australia will take place on May 21. Interestingly, the central bank’s interest rate decision is also awaited before the elections, i.e., tomorrow. If the RBA decides to hike interest rates, the decision might influence the population’s perception of the current government.

Here is a closer look at what the Labor party has planned for its campaign.

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New housing policy

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has a set of attractive policies for first-time homebuyers. The “Help to Buy” policy is aimed at assisting up to 10,000 income earners in entering the housing market with lesser deposits and mortgages.

Under the lucrative set of policies is the opposition’s promise to provide eligible Australians with an equity contribution of up to 40% of the price of a new home. Also, the party has promised to provide a contribution of 30% for existing homes. Those qualifying for a regular home loan would be required to give a deposit of just 2%, which will be financed by the lender.

The policy is eligible for those first-time homebuyers who earn a taxable income of up to AU$90,000 or AU$120,000 for couples. Effectively, the policy would come at the cost of about AU$329 million to the government.

Boost to manufacturing sector

The opposition party has also vouched for a boost in the nation’s onshore manufacturing capability and supply chain resilience. An estimated AU$1 billion ‘value-adding in resources’ fund would be used to bolster the domestic manufacturing sector.

This fund would be a part of the national reconstruction fund, which is estimated to be worth AU$15 billion. The benefits would reach the companies in the sector through loans and equity, particularly to businesses engaged in the resources sector.

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Fostering a shift to electric vehicles

Labor further intends to introduce an AU$500 million fund, allowing the commonwealth to co-invest in electric vehicle chargers. A national network of charging stations is targeted under the ‘driving the nation’ fund, with special attention to hydrogen and biofuel refuelling infrastructure.

The EV charging points will be built at an average interval of 150 km on major roads, which would be achieved at the cost of AU$39.3 million. Investments for the same would be leveraged from the NRMA, state governments, industry and car clubs. The party majorly aims to make long-distance travel easy and accessible to EV owners.

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Targeting economic growth

Given the existing strain on the Australian economy, Labor has decided to prioritise economic growth without adding to inflation. The most important area that the present government has not been able to improve upon is wages. The opposition plans to tackle this by giving a push to wages.

The opposition party will cut spending and crackdown on multinational tax avoidance, aiming to save almost AU$5 billion in the process. As part of the shadow cabinet, treasurer Jim Chalmers blamed the current government for not taking appropriate actions to curb inflation that is increasing costs of living for Aussies.

As per Chalmers, Labor would save around AU$1.89 million by ending multinational tax avoidance. The party aims to achieve this by limiting the use of tax havens and making the requirements more transparent. The shadow treasurer also announced plans for about AU$3 billion worth of cuts to government consultants and contractors.

 A summary of key policies announced by Labor

Other areas

Under the recently unveiled policies, opposition leader Albanese has also promised a cut of 29% on the prices of medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Additional efforts have been announced to lessen the gender pay gap by strengthening the Fair Work Commission’s powers to order pay increases. Labor has promised the introduction of a statutory equal remuneration principle, which already exists in Queensland. Through this, cases pertaining to pay discrepancies between genders will be heard more easily.

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