Are you ready to vote in this Saturday’s Federal Election? If not, Emily Wind has got you covered with a breakdown of the Coalition, Labor, and Greens’ proposed policies.
- Scott Morrison has announced a Climate Solutions Fund (CSF) that builds on the previous Emissions Reduction Fund established by Tony Abbot in 2014.
- The CSF will provide $2 billion over 10 years to work towards reaching Australia’s emissions reduction target as part of the Paris Climate Agreement (26-28% reduction by 2030).
- The CSF replaces the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) proposed by Malcolm Turnbull in 2017. Turnbull’s push for the NEG was a contributing factor to the conservative-led leadership spill in August 2018.
- The Coalition says it will invest $15 billion for renewables over the next three years, with $1.38 billion of that going to the Snowy Hydro project.
- The Labor party announced last year it would adopt aspects of the NEG originally proposed by Turnbull in 2017. Shadow Energy Minister Mark Butler said, “even if it’s not the best, it’s one that can work and we think the government should come back to.”
- Labor has a higher emissions reduction target than the Coalition, at 45% by 2030.
- Part of their policy involves a $2000 rebate to help triple the number of houses currently using batteries to store solar energy. This is working towards their commitment to 50% renewable energy by 2050.
- Under a Labor government, any business that emits more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year will be forced to cap emissions (this is about 250 businesses).
- Labor is aiming for half of all new cars sold to be electric by 2030.
- The Greens have the most ambitious climate policy, with an aim of 90% renewable energy by 2030.
- The party wants to make it illegal to dig, burn or ship thermal coal by 2030, and ban new petrol and diesel cars by that year.
- The Greens strongly oppose the Adani coal mine in Queensland.
- The Greens do not believe Labor’s environment policy is strong enough, with Sarah Hanson-Young saying the party won’t hesitate to use its crossbench numbers to ensure more ambitious commitments from Bill Shorten on the environment if he is elected.
UNIVERSITIES AND TAFE
- In 2017, the Coalition cut $2.2bn from universities, achieved primarily through a two-year funding freeze on the money it paid to universities for students in bachelor courses.
- The Coalition also lowered the HECS repayment threshold to $45,000 (was previously $55,000) to achieve the $2.2bn cut.
- On their website, the Liberal government claims it will create 80,000 apprenticeships over five years and provide a record $17.7bn to universities.
- They’ve also announced a public interest test that will be applied to university research funds.
- Labor has promised to invest $1 billion into the TAFE sector.
- Shorten has also promised to announce a national inquiry into Australia’s post-secondary education system within the first 100 days if he is elected.
- Labor wants to bring back demand-driven funding for universities, which existed between 2012-2017 before the Liberal Governments freeze on funding. Demand-driven funding provides funding based on student enrolment numbers rather than a set sum.
- Labor has announced a $1 billion vocational educational package which includes “$380 million for 100,000 free TAFE places, $224 million for 150,000 extra apprentice incentives and $200 million for TAFE building upgrades” as reported by the ABC.
- The Greens Education plan would fund unlimited free TAFE and undergraduate university for everyone and boost university funding by 10%.
- The plan would also tie the HELP repayment threshold to the median wage.
- The Greens also want to work with university staff and their unions to “link funding under the Commonwealth Grant Scheme to reductions in the rate of insecure work in universities” according to the plan.
- The Coalition is increasing its mental health funding to $4.8 billion.
- They are also funding an additional 30 headspace services by 2021 as well as new residential facilities for eating disorders.
- The Coalition has announced a $503.1 million Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan which focuses on strengthening the Headspace network, preventing Indigenous suicides, and early childhood and parenting support.
- The Government invested $736 million total in mental health services in the 2019-20 Budget according to Suicide Prevention Australia.
- Labor supports the National Mental Health Commission’s (NMHC) recommendations and if elected, will announce their priorities for implementation within the first 100 days of Government.
- They have announced they will commit to the Commission’s target to reduce deaths by suicide by 50% over the next decade.
- Labor will work with stakeholders and State and Territory Governments to identify 12 regional sites for suicide prevention initiatives, as well as implementing a National Suicide Prevention Framework.
- Labor will task the National Indigenous Health Equality Council to work with the NMHC to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Plan.
- The Greens want to spend almost $500 million over the next few years on suicide prevention community outreach programs.
- They also want to fund 1000 peer support workers, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers for culturally-appropriate support.
- Their mental health policy states that mental health therapies should be “evidence-based and cost-effective” and that public mental health services “must be fully funded.”
- Their policy includes 15 aims, such as “training police and correctional officers in mental health crisis intervention techniques” and “affordable accommodation solutions for people with ongoing mental illness.”
- In 2016 the Coalition introduced the Online Compliance Intervention – or ‘Robo Debt’ – system (read more here). The new Robo Debt system sent 20,000 interventions per week when introduced (up from 20,000 per year), often with incorrect or inflated debts or debts that were never owed. The system is still in place today and the Liberal government claim the system has saved taxpayers $1.4 billion.
- The Liberal Government is seeking to trial random drug tests for 5,000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients.
- There is no mention of raising Newstart or Youth Allowance on the Liberal government’s website. Newstart has not been raised since 1996.
- Labor’s position on the Robo Debt system is still unclear, despite a 2017 Labor-Greens Senate enquiry suggesting it should be suspended until the flaws are fixed.
- Bill Shorten has confirmed Newstart will be reviewed under a Labor government. The fortnightly payment is likely to rise following the review, however, no exact number has been promised.
- Labor wants to invest in 1200 new permanent, full-time Medicare and Centrelink staff to help cut waiting times.
- The Greens have called for a stop to the Robo Debt system established by the Coalition.
- The Greens policy on social services includes raising Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 per week and getting rid of the cashless welfare card.
- The Greens also want to establish an independent equality commission to provide independent advice to the Government on setting rates of income support and strategies to help reduce inequality.
- The Coalition’s Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) program aims to help 17-24 year old jobseekers move from welfare to work. Participants receive an extra $200 per fortnight on top of any other benefits for working between 30-50 hours a fortnight. The program was under fire earlier this year.
- If elected, a Morrison Government will invest $58 million into 10 Industry Training Hubs in key locations across regional Australia including Gosford, NSW.
- Labor has promised to remove the cuts to penalty rates within the first 100 days of Government if elected, and change the laws so they can’t be cut again.
- Labor plan to deliver the New Jobs Tax Cut which will be available to businesses who hire young Australians facing barriers to employment.
- Labor will legislate to allow casual workers to request permanent part-time or full-time employment after 12 months with the same employer.
- The Greens want to fully restore public holiday and weekend penalty rates.
- They will not support any legislation introduced by Labor (if they’re elected) that includes the provision that unions can get rid of penalty rates as part of wage negotiations.