Our Opinion

Federal election 2019: Bill Shorten’s Budget reply

Last Thursday Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten delivered his budget reply at Canberra’s parliament house, following the government’s handing down of the budget on Tuesday.

Following the theme of PeakCare’s views on the government’s YES BUT budget, the opposition leader has announced a range of YES BUT items as well. Add your comments about whether you agree or disagree with the items that PeakCare has listed and perhaps add some of your own.

YES, PeakCare commends the commitments to Education, Health and Medicare, including support for cancer sufferers to alleviate financial stress, BUT Labor, like the government, has failed to increase Newstart payments for jobseekers which would bring down poverty levels and reduce inequality.

YES Labor has committed to a review of Newstart, BUT welfare groups, academics, business leaders and economists have all claimed a review is not needed to see that Newstart payments are woefully inadequate and have ramped up calls to raise the rate of Newstart, which has been frozen at current, post-inflation levels for 25 years. A coalition of diverse voices has come together to support the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) in its Raise the Rate campaign to help Australia’s poorest households. See more here.

YES PeakCare is pleased to see proposed tax cuts equalling the government’s announcements for middle income earners however going further and extending tax breaks to those earning under $45 000, and removing tax cuts for high income earners, as well as refusing to accept the longer term plan of flattening out the tax rate which would create further inequalities. BUT there remain gaps in essential services and one third of households don’t benefit from tax cuts at all because their incomes are too low to pay tax.

YES boosts for TAFE and almost doubling the number of apprenticeships is a positive investment in skills building.

YES the commitment to universal preschool access for all three and four year olds will provide a good start for children to become life-long learners.

YES to Labor’s promise to narrow the gender pay disparity for women, BUT there was no corresponding funding commitment or plan for how pay disparity would be addressed. Labour has made a related commitment to restoring Sunday penalty rates as women have been disproportionally impacted by the penalty rate cuts as they are more likely to work in affected industries, work part time or work on weekends.

YES to the commitment to housing affordability, BUT these commitments only focus on supporting first home owners while neglecting the much needed increased investment in social housing to support the needs of thousands of Australians experiencing homelessness and rental stress.

YES to Bill Shorten’s commitment to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

As for PeakCare’s budget commentary last week, PeakCare does not pretend that the above is an exhaustive list. Please provide your comments about any or all of the above items and feel free to add to the list.

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