SECTIONS OF OPPOSITION LEADER BILL SHORTEN’S 2019 BUDGET REPLY RELEVANT TO CONSTRUCTION

Ending Negative Gearing on Older Investor Properties

If you’re currently negatively gearing the rules won’t change. If you want to use it on new homes, you still can. But we cannot have property investors playing with loaded dice against our young people, Generation Y and the Millennials. And instead of patronising millions of young Australians with lectures about cutting back on smashed avo. Why don’t we tell them the truth: Getting together a 20 per cent deposit – plus stamp duty – is so much, much harder than it was 20 or 25 years ago.

And it’s even more difficult, when your government uses your taxpayer money to subsidise the property investors bidding against you. The intergenerational bias that the tax system has against young people must be called out. A government has to be brave enough and decent enough to stop the bias against first home buyers and young Australians.

Extra TAFE Spending

And when everyone has an equal chance to fulfil their potential. This is why investing in the future, always begins with education.

This is where the difference between Labor and the Government could not be more stark. Nine out of ten new jobs created in the next four years will require either a university degree or a TAFE qualification. Only a Labor Government will be prepared to properly fund both. We’ll uncap university places, opening the doors of higher education to an additional 200,000 Australians. And when it comes to vocational education, Labor is backing public TAFE all the way. I’ve been fortunate to have visited about 30 TAFEs around Australia since the last election. The teachers and students are inspirational. So tonight I’m pleased to announce that we are going to double the size of our Rebuilding TAFE fund – up to $200 million to renovate campuses in regional and outer-suburban Australia. This will mean:

  • This will mean new facilities for training nurses in Caboolture and Devonport.
  • New workshops in Midland and Bellevue, to make sure the METRONET train carriages work goes to apprentices.
  • A new construction centre for tradies in Chadstone and Frankston.

And so much more. Labor will also pay the upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE places to get more Australians training in high-priority courses.

Building Program

Building an economy that works for everyone means a massive building program, right across our nation. We will reinvigorate jobs in the construction sector:

  • With our Build-to-Rent plan.
  • Targeting Negative Gearing to new housing.
  • Renovating the national energy grid with new pipelines, interconnectors, hydro and storage.
  • Launching the biggest affordable housing program since the Second World War – building a quarter of a million new homes.

And we will invest in safe accommodation for women fleeing violent relationships. Because too often, when the worst happens, people still say: “Why didn’t she leave?” What we should ask is: “Where would she go?” Mr Speaker Labor has transport plans and projects ready to go in every state and territory:

  • Cross River Rail in Brisbane
  • Western Sydney Metro
  • Suburban Rail Loop in Melbourne
  • The Bridgewater Bridge in Tassie
  • South Road in South Australia
  • METRONET in Perth
  • Upgrading the roads around Kakadu
  • And Phase 2 of the ACT light rail.

And – thanks to Albo’s hard work – the work is just beginning. Labor will continue to develop and support the development Northern Australia: including overdue upgrades for the beef roads and the Rocky ring road. And tonight I can announce we will deliver $1.5 billion to upgrade the Gateway Motorway from Bracken Ridge to the Pine River – and the next stage of the Bruce Highway from the Northern Suburbs to Caboolture. There’s another big difference between Liberal and Labor on infrastructure. In their budget you have to vote for the current Prime Minister at this election… … then you have to vote for whoever is their leader at the next election… …and that’s before anyone even digs a hole. Our projects are not on the never-never, they are locked in to our first budget.

Infrastructure Australia to be Non-Partisan

There’s another difference that I offer the Australian people, frustrated by the constant short- termism in the infrastructure debate. If we are elected, I will invite the then-Opposition Leader to be involved in nominating directors to Infrastructure Australia, so we take the politics out and we make generational decisions in infrastructure for once and for all time. And every time we invest Commonwealth dollars in infrastructure projects.

Apprenticeships

We’ll make the rule that 1 in 10 people employed must be an Australian apprentice. Mr Speaker The bad news is that over the last six years under the Liberals, apprenticeships have fallen by 150,000. The good news is because of our vision:

  • in infrastructure housing construction
  • the NDIS
  • TAFE and training
  • early childhood education
  • energy
  • and the digital economy

…a Labor Government can repair the damage done. Tonight, I say we will help train 150,000 apprentices for the jobs of the future. We will provide additional support for businesses which take them on – both young people and mature age workers looking to re-train and to learn new skills.

And we’ll create an Apprentice Advocate – because the tragic death of an 18 year old apprentice on the Macquarie Park site last week, reminds us that we’ve got to protect our apprentices and they have the same right to come home safe as everybody else.

Wages and Security of Payment

Only Labor has a concrete, practical plan to get wages moving again.

  1.  If we win the election we will legislate to restore the arbitrary cuts to Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in our first 100
  2. We will stop companies using sham contracts and dodgy labour hire arrangements to cut people’s pay
  3. Our Tradie Pay Guarantee means that subbies working on Commonwealth projects get paid on time, every time.