Budget Reply 2021

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Budget Reply 2021

I know the difference good government can make to people's lives. I know that our country needs good government again. A government that believes in your potential. A prime minister who shares your values. A Labor Government that's on your side.

A Labor Government will:

  1. Establish a Housing Australia Future Fund and build homes for our most vulnerable Australians – creating more than 20,000 jobs each year over five years.
  2. Establish New Energy Apprenticeships in renewable industries, giving Australians a foot in the door in the industries that will power tomorrow's economy.
  3. Criminalise wage theft in Australia.
  4. Legislate an obligation on employers to keep their employees safe from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. 
  5. Create a mentoring program for 2,000 young innovators to start a business straight out of uni – connected to experts in their field, backed by universities, and supported by our Labor Government.

The details:

Housing Australia Future Fund.

Even before the pandemic, there were more than 150,000 families on the waiting list for public housing. That’s more than the population of Darwin, waiting for the bare minimum – a roof over their heads, and a safe place to sleep at night.

In 21st century Australia, we can do so much better than this.

I grew up in a council house in Sydney. I know the difference governments can make to people’s life – and a safe, secure home is as important as it gets. But this isn’t just about the Australians who need public housing to get by, as important as that is – it’s also about the Australians who will build it.

A national program of public housing construction would create more than 20,000 jobs each year. And not just any jobs – secure jobs that you can raise a family on.

But despite this housing crisis, the Morrison Government has completely abandoned public housing. After eight long years of the Liberals and Nationals, they seem destined to watch this human tragedy get even worse.

Now is the time for leadership, and Labor is ready to lead. A Labor Government I lead will establish a Housing Australia Future Fund, building thousands of new homes for our most vulnerable Australians – and creating thousands of new jobs for workers.

Over the first five years, we will build around 20,000 social housing properties – places like the home I grew up in. 4,000 of these homes will be allocated to women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, and older women on low incomes.

We will also build 10,000 affordable housing properties for frontline workers – the heroes of the pandemic that kept us safe. The nurses, the police, the cleaners.

Some of the worst housing standards in the world are endured by our First Nations people – and so through the Housing Australia Future Fund, we will invest real funding to build more housing and reduce overcrowding in remote Indigenous communities.

And we will also build more supportive housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are either homeless or living at risk of homelessness.

Our plan is good for jobs too. Over the first five years, it will create more than 20,000 full-time jobs each year over five years – secure jobs that you can raise a family on.

It’s called a future fund, because it’s an investment our people, and our future. We won’t leave anyone behind.

New Energy Apprenticeships.

The world is moving quickly to embrace new energy sources. Australia can be at the forefront of this change, creating secure jobs here at home – but only if we have a government that is willing to lead. Labor’s New Energy Apprenticeships will make sure that Australia is a leader in the industries that will fuel tomorrow’s economy.

Australia can and should be a renewable energy superpower, jumpstarting generations of jobs. Labor’s New Energy Apprenticeships will give Australian workers a foot in the door and create thousands of jobs – secure jobs that you can raise a family on.

We’ll back the skills and smarts of our people – because that’s what good governments do. By contrast, after eight long years of the Liberals and Nationals, Australia has seen more than 140,000 apprenticeships disappear and 90,000 manufacturing jobs sent overseas.

Scott Morrison’s plan for the future is to simply sit back and hope the market works it out. Well, that plan has never worked for Australian workers. It’s never gotten them higher wages or more secure jobs, and it’s not how you set a country up for success. It’s just a plan for more insecurity, more uncertainty – and a guarantee that the Australian people will be left behind. I will never let that happen.

Criminalising wage theft.

Scott Morrison promised to criminalise wage theft, and then broke his promise. Labor will do what’s right and act because Scott Morrison won’t.

After eight long years of the Liberals and Nationals, Scott Morrison has not only presided over the worst wage growth in Australian history – his Budget has revealed that wages are now going to go backwards. This is his record on your pay: flatlining, and now in retreat.

To make matters worse, the Liberals and Nationals have also walked away from a promise to go after the dodgy companies who are stealing people’s pay.

Australians deserve a government that’s on their side. Labor will stand up for hardworking families and go after those who try to steal their hard-earned money. That's why we will criminalise wage theft in Australia.

Women's safety.

Women must be safe at work. But when one in three Australians has been harassed at work in the past three years, it’s clear the current laws aren’t working.

After eight long years of ignoring women, the Morrison Government was finally forced to respond to the Respect@Work report – but only after the Government was plunged into crisis by the Brittany Higgins revelations. Even then, their response has been woefully inadequate – lacking the concrete reform needed to keep women safe at work.

It shouldn’t take a political crisis for any government to realise that women must be treated with dignity and respect, and that the culture in our workplaces must change.

Labor is determined to lead that change – which is why a Labor Government will legislate an obligation on employers to keep their employees safe from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. 

In the same way that employers are obligated to keep their employees safe from accidents at work, employers should be obligated to keep their employees safe from harassment at work. Labor will write that obligation into law.

We will consult with employers, workers, unions and legal experts to get this right – but in the end, we have one aim: not to sweep this problem under the carpet, but to take the necessary action, recommended by the experts, to change the culture for women.

Startup Year.

WiFi. The black box. The cochlear implant. Australians have been innovators from the very start. But after eight long years of the Liberals and Nationals, Australia has fallen to number 23 on the Global Innovation Index. They love to talk about innovation, but they just never deliver.

We are backing the ideas of young Australians to create new businesses and new jobs.

Labor’s Startup Year will mentor 2,000 young innovators to start a business straight out of uni – connected to experts in their field, backed by universities, and supported by our Labor Government.

Delivered through the HELP system, participants will be given the opportunity to develop their ideas, get business experience and build the networks needed to make their ideas a reality.

It’s local startups in areas like manufacturing, medicine, IT and clean energy that will build the Australian industries of tomorrow while also solving some of our toughest domestic and global challenges.

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the sorrow of the Stolen Generations and the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also recognise the resilience, strength and pride of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Authorised by Anthony Albanese. 334a Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204.