With less than a week to go until Australia takes to the polls, the major parties make last minute bids to sway the vote to their favour.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced additional funding for housing, while Opposition leader Anthony Albanese promises new funding for healthcare.
Morrison announces new housing plan
Speaking in Brisbane on Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his new scheme to target first time home buyers.
The plan will allow people to withdraw up to 40 percent of their superannuation, capping at $50,000 to help them get into the housing market.
The Super Home Buyer Scheme would commence July 2023, if Morrison is re-elected, and there would be no price caps on the income someone earned or the value of the property they want to buy.
Only people who are buying their first home will be eligible for the scheme, and must have saved at least five percent of the total deposit and would need to live in the home for at least a year.
However, the scheme has been hit with backlash, with economists and the Labor Party both saying that this will drive up property prices.
The minister for superannuation, Jane Hume, has said that the scheme will increase prices only “temporarily”.
“We know that people will probably bring forward some of their decisions to buy a house earlier and for that reason it will probably push prices temporarily,” she said.
Morrison has said that this scheme will be used in conjunction with other schemes, including the downsizing initiative which involves offering older Australians financial incentives to downsize their home into a smaller one.
“We’ve thought carefully about this policy and when you take this policy together with the downsizing initiative – remember this gives people access to their superannuation to buy a home. That includes new homes. New stock. You would have seen on the plan in there whole areas of new land opening up for development which will mean new stock. That means more supply. That means downward pressure on otherwise rising pressure,” he said.
“The number one issue that forces up the housing prices in this country is insufficient supply. And this police, the downsizing policy, the HomeBuilder policy, has all been about increasing that supply.”
Albanese promises nearly AUD$1 billion in funding for Medicare
On Saturday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese announced his plan to strengthen healthcare for Australians.
The agreement includes $750 million over three years through a new Strengthening Medicare Fund, as well as $220 million in grants of between $25,000 to $50,000 for GPs to train their staff, new equipment, ventilation improvements and an upgrade to telehealth services. A taskforce will also be established to identify any areas that need strengthening in Medicare.
Speaking in the Northern Territory, Albanese said that the money will help the struggling GPs.
“In many areas, it is getting harder to see a doctor, not easier, and what we need to do is to make sure that people can get that care when they need it,” he said.
“We need to make sure that we value GP services and that we value our health sector.”
Albanese holds a press conference in Perth
Albanese has pledged $150 million towards a new surgical centre for the city, while speaking alongside WA Premier Mark McGowan this morning.
“What this will do is deliver six new surgical theatres, two new procedure rooms, a 24 bed surgical ward and a new central services department,” Albanese said.
“We want to work with Mark McGowan and with other state governments around the country to deliver better health outcomes. This announcement today is a practical announcement that will deliver on that capital upgrade.”
McGowan said that this new centre will help reduce the burden on hospitals.
“It will mean that we have a major surgical facility here at Bentley Hospital. It will mean that the elective surgery pressure will be reduced on our hospital system. It will mean thousands of extra surgeries can be conducted here at this surgery centre in the eastern suburbs,” he said.
Greens leader Adam Bandt outlines demands for Labor in case of minority government
Leader of the Greens Party Adam Bandt is set to announce seven concessions that they want from Labor worth $173 billion on Monday night.
The seven demands include no new coal and gas, dental and mental health included in Medicare, better renters’ rights and affordable homes, free childcare, wiping student debt, lifting income support and progress on the elements from the Uluru statement.
The $173 billion will cover all four years, and will come into play if the Labor Party is unable to form a majority government. Bandt said they are not willing to work with the Liberal Party.
“It’s time to turf out this terrible government. They’ve had years in power, they’ve made housing more expensive and they’ve made the climate crisis worse,” he said, speaking on Sunday.
“So in a power sharing parliament, we wouldn’t be supporting the Liberals, whether they’re led by Morrison or someone else.”
Photo: Parliament House by Robert Pfeifer available HERE and used under a Creative Commons licence. The photo has not been modified.